Sales of the Leisure Time line of spa and hot-tub water care products were exceeding the category’s annual sales increases of 3 to 5%. Consumers viewed the premium-priced products as high quality.
Yet the brand’s owner, Atlanta-based Advantis Technologies, made a bold move by redesigning the entire line of packaging. The company believes its new packaging communicates a more sophisticated message about the product quality to high-end consumers.
The redesign has brought several results:
• The packaging helps to deliver the brand’s magic “ahh” moment, both visually and through surface texture, which spa owners—who are used to enjoying the finer things in life—expect. Some marketers use the term “experiential brand” to describe this emotional state that results when consumers interact with a product.
• Year-to-year sales have risen 17%, and distribution has increased at spa dealers.
• The line is “displacing” some competitors’ brands from some dealers’ store shelves. This “preemptive strike” has enabled Leisure Time to hold off growing threats to its position as the category sales leader.
The foundation for the new packaging was built after Advantis, working with Object 9, a Baton Rouge, LA, marketing services firm, conducted a brand and category audit. Michael Moore, Advantis vice president of marketing, gives this reason for conducting the research: “Leisure Time has arguably been the best-selling and most effective water-care product line on the market for over 25 years, but our packaging had become somewhat disconnected from the brand’s core attributes.” Elegance, cleanliness, and luxury, he adds, are these core attributes, and they play well with spa owners who want to feel pampered.
Despite Leisure Time’s lofty brand positioning, the old packaging—which included a stock bottle and stock fonts—made it appear to be a less-than-premium brand. The packaging simply didn’t work hard enough to attract consumers willing to spend $15ꯠ on a spa. In visits to dealers to quantify obstacles to future growth of the brand, Object 9 partner Jon Cato discovered that the brand’s core consumers—primarily women—viewed the Leisure Time brand as conservative and the packaging as dated and industrial-looking.
Advantis decided to update everything about the brand except for the product formula. With inspiration from health and beauty product packaging, Object 9 and materials suppliers developed a proprietary bottle with a “swoosh” pattern embossed near the rounded shoulder.
‘Bullet’ shape distinguishes bottle
The blow-molded bottles use a custom metallic, pearlescent platinum ink. Illing Co. screen prints the bottles. When exposed to light, the bottle texture resembles bubbles and reinforces the brand’s cleanliness attribute, Cato says.
The swoosh repeats as part of the “water drop” logo. The drop appears prominently just above the bottle’s center. The bottle front removes the clutter of the old design. The brand name appears in larger letters using custom fonts. The product variety appears below the brand name in an oval whose color matches the cap.
Wider cap sizes—they range as high as 72-mm on 80-oz bottles—give the bottle a “bullet” shape and complete what Cato describes as a “softer design.” The caps come from Van Blarcom Closures.
The redesign also extends to collateral materials. Advantis and Object 9 created a “launch kit” that distributors and hot tub retailers used in advance of the new packaging rollout to promote the brand in the store. The kit previewed the brand’s new look and outlined new sales and marketing opportunities that Leisure Time offered dealers through its updated brand image.