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Manly Packaging

By: Sara Mason
Posted: February 21, 2014, from the March 2014 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The brand is built on the philosophy that every man should enjoy having all types of facial hair by removing the growth period redness and itch, as well as maintaining their facial hair with the right products. “We wanted to create a brand that harkens back to a simpler time but would remain relevant throughout all the societal and culture changes we experience—what someone would have used in 1800 and will still in 2300,” explains Lombardi.

Badricks’ packaging is a throwback to that simpler time. According to the co-founders, vintage appeals to the male market right now because gimmicks and colors have gotten out of control, and men find this off-putting. The brand’s research shows that when there is a big deal made about packaging, more often than not, men will not buy it because it looks too “girly.” “Men want something they can keep in the medicine chest—or gym bag—that fits with their toothbrush and other accoutrements,” says Lombardi.

By using colors and tones that are recognized by men, Badricks’ co-founders—both of whom are fans of vintage ads and steam punk—say men are drawn to the packaging. “Men respond to it due to the fact that it’s 100% masculine gimmick-free,” explains Dank. “It is clean, simple but strong and reassuring,” adds Lombardi.

Badricks models its marketing after that which is used in traditionally male-oriented segments/markets, such as beer, tools and men’s underwear. “The reason that they sell is there are no gimmicks, just the plain truth,” notes Dank. “Simple, to the point.”

Keep it Eco-friendly

The use of eco-friendly packaging is an important factor across the beauty market, and that includes for men’s products. As a leader in men’s small batch skin care products, packaging designers at grooming brand Taun envisioned a unique canister that would showcase their men’s premium facial repair formula. Working with Custom Paper Tubes, Taun went away from traditional boxes for its high-end formulas to a custom-labeled tubular package with a lid typically used on high-end liquors. Custom Paper Tubes works with many green and cause-oriented product lines because of its highly recyclable, environmentally friendly packaging materials and non-toxic glues.

As such, Custom Paper Tubes also recently produced a three-piece telescope container for use with a men’s line of cologne and skin care, featuring a Kraft outer wrap and metal ends as a custom container for a secondary packaging that is as natural and rugged. The seamed-on metal ends, along with a dual-wall construction, protect the glass bottle inside and double as an attractive, manly retail package. Adhesive labels are applied to the Kraft brown outside of the containers to differentiate the various all-natural products packaged inside.

Enabling brands to communicate their own green message to a market that is no longer niche but mainstream, eco-friendly materials are practical for any natural or outdoorsy lines looking toward the future.

Keep It Yours

Personalized packaging is another avenue that allows a brand’s personality to stand out on the shelf while also uniting the line to articulate its simplicity, performance and quality through clean graphics, concise product descriptions and visual identity (using color, shape or graphics) that carries across multiple product types and sizes. Combined with global customization capabilities, dispensing solutions that can be enhanced, modified or completely redesigned as a different package to fit the look and feel brands require are key. “The adaptability of a package to fit brand identity is a valuable incentive,” said Des McEttrick, market development director for North American beauty, Aptar. Aptar’s Eden airless collection is just one example, as it offers multiple size and actuator options that can be sleek and feminine or understated but bold for men. “It all depends on what style and tone you are trying to achieve,” says McEttrick.

Every brand is going to tell a different story. Doing so with packaging can mean choosing a shape and function to fit a concept that is simple or elaborate, easy to use or more advanced, luxury or understated. “It’s quite instinctive to inject personality into the brand to make it interesting for the consumer,” says Bulldog’s Grace. Take a cue from other industries or categories that use packaging to help create a unique brand. “Whiskey, for example, does a fantastic job of creating beautiful packaging, very clear labeling and tactile packaging that tells a story that appeals to men,” Grace notes.

The nutritional supplement and sports nutrition industries is another place to look for inspiration. These packages feature a lot of dark container colors and bold graphics. “In addition to the amber, blue and dark green bottles that are already popular in men’s personal care packaging, bold colors such as red, orange, yellow, silver and black are all colors that men’s personal care companies should be exploring,” says Alpha’s Bielefeldt.

“There’s always room for innovation and doing things differently,” comments Grace. “There is a huge opportunity here, and I hope we are making the most of it—to stand out, to be iconic in our own way.”

Sara Mason is a freelance writer based in the Chicagoland area. She was previously managing editor of GCI magazine.