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Redesign Reverses Course to Reflect Modern Women

Midol®, the venerable OTC menstrual relief brand from Bayer, underwent a striking packaging redesign, reversing course on existing iconography, typography, and messaging.

Midol Before After[1]

That’s because what defines femininity today is very different from what it was over a century ago when Midol was launched, according to Bayer’s Martha Seidner, Design Manager, and Karen O’Boyle, Packaging Services Senior Group Lead. 

“Those softer colors, gentle sweeping graphics and script lettering treatments [from the incumbent design] feel anachronistic today,” Seidner says. “To bring Midol’s story and purpose to life, the visual brand language reflects and resonates with today’s strong women. This starts with our shelf presence and package design, the critical touchpoint, as it’s the only one our consumer is guaranteed to engage with. Like today’s modern, confident women, our new look and feel is more relatable, optimistic, confident. Women are bolder and more empowered and so is our design, typography and graphic elements--everything that makes up our visual brand language.”

The new font treatments feel powerful, yet still speak in an approachable voice. The complete visual expression for Midol reflects an “M-powered” approach that the company’s design partner, GoDutch, supported with a look, tone, and feel that celebrates women. This started with package design, typography, colors, graphic elements, and a tone of voice that extends to every consumer touchpoint. 

Color serves multiple purposes on the new Midol packs. First, it clearly and simply distinguishes the product variants, which include complete, caffeine-free, and long-lasting. Each variety employs a color that links to a specific product offering. Also, the use of strong, contrasting colors combined with bold shapes and the block letter “M” creates a powerful shelf presence and obvious Midol brand block. These purposeful contrasts mirror the diversity of today’s modern woman, according to Seidner. The simple geometries are brought to life with bright colors, breaking through a cluttered shelf set. Midol pink, green, and purple strongly contrast against a yellow background, dynamically dividing packs and support a simple shape language that’s highly disruptive and easy-to-navigate. 

The placement of the messaging also shifted from slightly offset or justify left on the incumbent design, into a very top-down, centered format that’s balanced from right to left. 

“We wanted to communicate that balance and a centered design architecture creates an easy-to-navigate pack, anchored by our block letter M – which is a bullseye towards center of pack. Not only does this create strong eye appeal but helps represent the balance and efficacy of our products. Midol exists to help women thrive every day of the month, even on period days. The simple, more balanced and symmetrical design approach speaks to that,” Seidner says. “Our messaging hierarchy clearly communicates the Midol brand and variant to help consumers select exactly what they need. OTC products follow strict regulatory guidelines and thus a specific order and placement is followed to provide key information. Our statement of identity, claims and indications create a logical order and structure. Everything is very clear.” 

Color differentiates the multi-purpose SKUs that constitute the Midol brand family.Color differentiates the multi-purpose SKUs that constitute the Midol brand family.

Structural changes
The pack orientation of the larger-sized cartons turned 90-deg to leverage height, allowing for a smaller footprint and more shelf space from left to right. Midol also now uses a new, dual-facing vertical and horizontal 40-count carton, which employs a fifth panel, DFL ‘flap’ on the back panel. This approach offers retailers more shelving flexibility than ever, and more visibility to find Midol at shelf.

Secondary packaging remains die-cut and printed paperboard cartons, and primary packaging is either sachet-style foil laminated pouches, or HDPE bottles with pressure sensitive labels, depending on the SKU. Pouches now employ a full bleed approach to fully leverage the new Midol identity, look, tone and feel.

“We introduced touch as another way to distinguish Midol by employing high gloss and soft touch spot varnishes to leverage the new equities of the brand which we are building,” O’Boyle says. “Specifically, the glossy block letter “M”s are balanced with a soft touch varnish on the yellow. Soft touch brings in a tactile, sensorial experience, with a subtle suede-like finish, when consumers pick up the pack. Visually, this also provides a differentiated shelf presence vs. the category norm.”

Previously, the company used a 4/C process printing across the range. The new Midol branding employs all Pantone colors. Seidner and O’Boyle say they owe a lot to Graphics Manager, Donna Papson, Bayer, who lead the way to optimal results by using color targets, conducting print trials and at-press-supervision. Because of the special glossy and soft touch finishes color matching was even more complex as these varnishes affect the pantone color values. Papson worked with multiple print suppliers to harmonize color between them, and across the range of substrates, including labels, cartons, and flexible film/foil.

“Having a deep understanding of who she is and what she is going through has enabled us to re-invent our brand to speak directly to her needs before, during and after her period.,” adds Lisa Tecklenburg, VP/GM Bayer Consumer Health U.S. “We want women to celebrate being a woman, and that includes the week she has her period, because it is a sign of how amazing she is and of all the amazing things she can accomplish as a woman.”

Midol products are sold online and over the counter at food, drug, and mass retailers including Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and Amazon.

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