New Tool: ProSource
Check out our packaging and processing solutions finder, ProSource.

Bottle gets the drop on fabric softener category

Ultra-concentrated fabric softener line from Unilever debuts in a droplet-shaped bottle with a vibrant full-body label that conveys the formula’s intense fragrance and freshness.

Packaging for Comfort Intense combines a droplet-shaped bottle and high-energy graphics.
Packaging for Comfort Intense combines a droplet-shaped bottle and high-energy graphics.

For its new line of Comfort Intense 2X-concentrated fabric softeners, Unilever conducted a four-year package design project to create a unique container shape with label graphics that together would holistically convey the intense softness and fragrance of the product inside. In spring 2015, Comfort Intense in four scents was launched in the U.K., France, and The Netherlands in a droplet-shaped PET bottle with a full-body shrink-sleeve label that radiates color, comfort, and energy.

Explains Ben Lambert, Creative Director for PB Creative Ltd., which began working on the project in June 2011, “The packaging needed to be distinctive and disruptive yet relevant to the category, cuing the intensity and concentration of the product formulation.”

The droplet-shaped design for the bottle was inspired, Lambert says, by the ultra-concentrated essence of the product, which requires just a tiny dose per load—15 mL versus 35 mL for Unilever’s original Comfort product. He adds, “The droplet-shaped package compensates for a smaller pack size by leveraging character and personality. The pack’s disruptive silhouette stands out on shelf by utilizing both positive and negative space.”

The PET bottle comes in a 570-mL (19.2-oz) and a 960-mL (32.5-oz) size, and is topped by a two-piece closure that, sitting flush to the bottle, creates a clean, uninterrupted package profile. The closure assembly comprises a measuring cap and pour spout to help consumers accurately dose the product.

To differentiate the Comfort Intense line from Unilever’s existing Comfort non-concentrated formula, PB Creative designed all-new label graphics, with the exception of the Comfort brand mark. “This is a completely new formulation and range of products that warranted more of a step change from the existing brand aesthetic,” explains Lambert.

Described as an “explosive 2D design” by PB Creative, label graphics include a white starburst at the center to capture the intensity of the fragrance. A teddy bear illustration in the center of the burst on versions for France and The Netherlands signifies the softness of the formulation. Vibrant background colors indicate fragrance: blue for Fresh Sky, magenta for Fuchsia Passion, purple for Ocean Pearl, and orange and yellow for Sunburst.

“The blend of deep, rich, and vibrant colors radiating from the white center of the design gives a dynamic and energetic feel to the pack while providing strong standout of the Comfort Intense lockup,” says Lambert.

To ensure label graphics would not distort during the shrink process, project partner Sun Branding Solutions implemented a technique that uses Adobe Illustrator plugins. The plugins import the shrink sleeve as a flat object and apply the artwork to the 3D model instantly, allowing the package designer to predict where the label will distort. This allowed Sun Branding to counteract the distortions in the Comfort Intense label at set positions across the bottle before the shrink sleeve was applied.

The film label is gravure-printed in eight colors plus two varnishes by Fuji Seal.

According to Lambert, in just the first six months after its launch, Comfort Intense achieved its 12-month sales target.

Discover Our Content Hub
Access Packaging World's free educational content library!
Read More
Discover Our Content Hub
How AI is reshaping CPG manufacturing operations
Today’s CPG companies are faced with mounting challenges in their manufacturing operations. You have the data that could help you, but can you turn that data into knowledge? See how artificial intelligence can help. Learn what’s working for Pfizer, Post, and Smithfield.
Read More
How AI is reshaping CPG manufacturing operations