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Reaching the Right Man: Make Your Packaging Work Overtime

By: Lisa Doyle
Posted: November 9, 2009, from the November 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The message of a pared-down hygiene routine is making its way into the salon as well. Terry Wells, founder of newly launched men’s salon hair care line TowelDry, aims to capitalize on this market by keeping the message clear and concise. “Our brand values are that simplicity is the number-one priority,” says Wells. “I’ve done a lot of research on men, and we distilled the line down to everything they would want and need, and no more than that. Men generally use a shampoo and one styling product, so that is what we are offering. We’re trying to not confuse them with too many products.”

The Visual

Standing out visually from the women’s lines on the shelves isn’t enough—a product needs to both make an impact as a male-specific product and express the brand’s message to the target audience. Roach believes men are partial to lines that speak their language. “Say what you want about crossover appeal, but guys are guys, and at a base level, the stereotype attributes play a major role in branding,” he says. Moreover, “while men may be willing to give a product another chance if the result is less than expected, they are also more likely to move on because of a brand’s failing to complement their masculine self-image.”

Davidson agrees, “Because men aren’t shopping as often or in the same way as women, when they make brand decisions, they are looking for a full brand story, its values, and how it might represent the person as well.” These attributes all were successfully conveyed in the look of the Aveda Men line. “We wanted it to be simple and have reflections of nature, and we came up with the primary identity of an almost hieroglyphic ‘M’ for Aveda Men,” she says. “The letters were put together in an interesting way with natural textures, and the look is very basic and universal.” A bold, rich color palette with earth tones and “Different by Nature” tagline in marketing materials clearly separate the men’s section in Aveda retail environments.

Following with its message of no-fuss grooming, TowelDry’s graphic design is similarly streamlined. The line features products for three types of hair—fine, medium and thick—and are thus color-coded with lettering in blue, green and orange. The bottle itself is graphite gray and features a bold, easy-to-find “TD” logo. “There’s absolutely nothing feminine about our packaging,” says Wells.

The Nivea for Men Active 3 product has found ways to make its mark in crowded mass merchandise environments as well. At 16.9 ounces, the durable, ergonomic bottles are larger than many similar offerings, and the logo on the front features a pronounced logo with the clearly defined usage, “Shower, Shampoo, Shave,” underneath it. The graphic also includes an image of a razor and tidal wave, reminding the consumer that the shaving gel option is a key differentiator in the product. (As this contribution was being prepared for print, Beiersdorf announced that a new Nivea for Men logo, designed by Interbrand, would gradually be rolled out over the entire portfolio—a step intended to harmonize Nivea’s subbrands and represents a tangible visual consolidation of the Nivea brand.)

The Vessel