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Packaging helps consumers say 'hello' to new oral care line

Suppliers partner to speed ‘seriously friendly oral care’ products to market in innovative packaging that employs shapes, colors, and recycled materials.
FILED IN:  Package design  > Structural
Next time you’re surfing the Internet, stop by www.hello-products.com, go to the company/FAQ part of the site, and you’ll see the question, “Sure it looks cool, but why can’t I get everything out of the toothpaste package?”

The answer is every bit as refreshing as Hello Products LLC’s oral care product line: “We've tried to think of everything, but unfortunately, even our insanely thoughtful and talented team of designers and engineers couldn't find a way to make every single delicious tiny-fraction-of-an-ounce come out of a toothpaste package. So we did the next best thing: we actually put a little extra in the package, a bit more than the 6.25 ounces it says on the front. Oh, and don’t worry, the cost of the additional paste is on us; it wouldn’t be friendly to charge folks for that.”

The Montclair, NJ-based company’s Hello brand of seriously friendly™ oral care products includes a range of 99% natural toothpastes, mouthwashes, and breath sprays in “delicious flavors and beautiful packages, as well as a toothbrush made with biodegradable corn resin and recycled plastic.”

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The answer to another frequently asked question, “Where is hello made?” also reveals a bit about the line’s packaging: “Hello is made in the friendly USA. Our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities meet all FDA requirements, and are staffed with pros who want to help make the world a friendlier place. The overwhelming majority of our packaging is also made domestically, with a small balance coming from friends in Canada and Italy.”

To get the line of products promptly out to the market earlier this year, Hello Products turned to TricorBraun, a provider of rigid packaging and engineering. TricorBraun, along with its partners and vendors, provided the breakthrough packaging vital to the product’s national launch in March 2013.

With vanity-friendly design and user experience at the core of the hello brand, founder + CEO Craig Dubitsky selected TricorBraun to help bring to life the brand’s vision of a modern, no-compromise oral care range, and to do so in record time. Hello partnered with BMW DesignworksUSA, the global design consultancy of BMW Group, to create the motifs and individual designs of the packaging. From there, hello turned to TricorBraun Design and Innovation to take the visionary packaging and commercialize it in a race to market that resulted in 20 molds completed in six months.

“Meeting the deadline was an outsized challenge requiring a uniquely positioned packaging partner that was willing to commit a substantial number of specialists to a single customer,” says Andrew Olsen, TricorBraun’s packaging consultant. “TricorBraun’s ‘Team Hello’ was able to maintain a sole focus: getting to market on time and in full. And we’re proud to be a part of hello’s early success.”

The dedicated ‘Team Hello’ at TricorBraun consisted of 18 company professionals, including engineers and industrial designers who selected materials, created models, and evaluated molds to ensure the performance of the packaging and the components on the filling lines and through their assembly, distribution, and consumer use. Selected suppliers worked across three packaging platforms: injection molding, extrusion/blow-molding, and injection/stretch-blow molding to create the custom hello packaging components.

As part of the development, TricorBraun evaluated more than 40 vendors before using 11 strategic suppliers that provided tooling, manufacturing, decorating, components, assembly, and transportation. Through this process, TricorBraun’s hello team coordinated the efforts of more than 100 individuals throughout North America and Europe who were working on the project.

“With hello, we seek to bring a new conversation to oral care, moving away from the historical talk of killing and fighting to focus on greeting. Packaging is vital to the integrity of that conversation,” says Hello’s Dubitsky. “While all the oral care aisle is an array of harsh lines and aggressive shapes, hello wanted to focus on being easy on the eyes and the mouth. So we needed a partner that could pull it off…and well inside the usual long-lead timelines. Speed is a core competency of ours, and we were happy that TricorBraun was able to make it happen as fast as we wanted.”

Hello’s line includes several items, including:

• Hello Toothpaste: Features a unique “tottle” packaging structure, an upside-down squeezable bottle that maintains its shape and doesn’t crumple up with use, like the standard toothpaste tubes. The packaging features a multi-layer polyethylene and EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) composition with a soft-touch exterior resin. A polypropylene butterfly hinge snap-on closure supports the container in an inverted position, allowing gravity to aid in the expressing of product. The novel pastry bag tip in the opening dispenses toothpaste in a unique pattern, a “moment of delight” for consumers. Additionally, the filled tottle does not require the secondary packaging in which conventional toothpastes are sold, aside from a small tamper-evidence band, improving shelf efficiency for the product.

• Hello Mouthwash: The clear PET bottles of the hello mouthwash, in both 473-ml and 985-ml fills, feature a unique curved shape and swig-friendly flavor ring at the top that gives it a distinct presence on shelf. TricorBraun and its partners created custom injection-molded preforms that are then reheated to create an injection/stretch blow-molded final bottle. The bottle’s custom closure features a non-removable polyethylene flavor ring that snaps onto the bottles and tamper-evident pull-tab closure, the first of its type in the oral care category. A clear-clarified polypropylene cup/overcap threads on the flavor ring. The base of the bottle is embossed with hello’s trademark slogan: seriously friendly™, with a “wink” to those who notice it.

• Hello Breath Spray: This small but package enables consumers to have a burst of freshness that’s good to go. A custom, 7-ml bottle is fitted with a three-piece sub-assembled actuator and pump engine that dispenses just the right amount of product. The collar of the product twists 30° to lock in place with an audible click for leak-proof portability, and it’s embossed with the hello logo, making it easy to feel in a purse or pocket.

Each of the above products is available in four flavors—supermint, mojito mint, pink grapefruit mint, and sweet cinnamint, each with its own color palette. TricorBraun partnered with colorant shops and decorating houses to ensure the screen printing and color matching that gave each flavor its unique image.

“Decorating provided its own set of challenges,” says TricorBraun’s Olson. “Along with custom packages, especially ones with these unique compound curves and shapes, came custom decorating processes and rounds of tweaks.”

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