Oasis® Grower Products, a supplier of propagation media to the horticultural market, has stepped up its marketing game, moving from plainly packaged product to colorful packs showcasing the benefits of its growing media. The Oasis “cubes” line consists of sheets of open-celled, water-absorbing foams used in the hydroponics market to grow plants without soil.
Until this year, its foam sheets were packaged in a generic, black and white-printed box holding two sheets, or available as single sheets, displayed at retail in a 20-sheet bulk box. In May 2011, Oasis tagged ad agency Communications Factory to create a branding campaign to appeal to consumers in the rapidly growing hobby hydroponics market.
“Oasis Growers wanted to launch a product extension and was ready for a change from their old packaging,” relates Communications Factory design engineer David Cockley. “It was believed the existing packaging was ineffective in communicating product benefits, was generically designed, and most importantly, provided little product protection.”
There were several core considerations for the new pack design: It had to be able to stand up to the rigors of the retail environment in order to protect the light and delicate foam product, and stack easily without damage; it had to incorporate a simple labeling system by which consumers could identify the proper cube variety from the side of the package; it had to allow for visibility of the product itself; it needed to help educate consumers on hydroponics; and it had to make the product pop on shelf. “In short,” says Cockley, “our goal was to make a big splash in order to get the product out of the back room, onto store shelves, and into shopping carts.”
The new package, launched for Rootcubes, Horticubes, and Rootcubes Plus varieties in late 2011, is made up of a rigid, white plastic tray with identifying product stickers on the side panels that holds the foam sheets, on top of which is placed a printed sheet of protective, transparent vinyl. The bundle is then wrapped with a clear shrink film. The vinyl sheet is printed on one half, and is clear on the other to allow consumers to view the product inside. “We felt if growers could physically see the media, instead of relying on an illustration or photograph, they would be more likely to buy,” says Cockley. “In essence, by eliminating the mystery of the product’s appearance, we felt we’d be removing a major barrier to purchase.”
The graphic design for new packaging is bold and bright, “to differentiate Oasis Grower media from the alternatives, excite hydroponic retailers, and get growers to notice,” says Cockley. Varieties are distinguished by vibrant colors: green, red, or cyan. Corresponding to the new campaign’s ease-of-use message, each pack carries the illustration of a dial, pointing at the words “Easy,” “Simple,” and “Effortless,” depending on the variety. A tagline reads, “Ahh, that’s better.” On the back of the vinyl sheet, helpful directions and hints on successful gardening with the Oasis sheets are included.
Commenting on the new pack design, Nathan Keil, product and marketing manager of Oasis, says, “It has been great working with the Communications Factory given their tremendous understanding of how to create retail-friendly packaging and, at the same time, creatively solve many of the difficulties we’ve encountered trying to service the hydroponics market. Our new packaging is both practical and attractive, and will solidify our brands in the marketplace.” He adds that initial retailer demand for the new packaging has been quite favorable for the upcoming spring season.