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Feeding the uprise of the venture brands | Case study

November 1, 2011 Comments Off Print Print

Design agency Stocks Taylor Benson was tasked with creating a new brand of wild bird feed for retailer Pets at Home. Philip Chadwick finds that the standalone own brand is part of a wider trend in the retail market

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The brief To create a standalone brand name, identity and packaging for Pets at Home’s wild bird feed. The retailer required an independent look and striking on-shelf presence

Client Pets at Home

Brand A little bird told me…

Design Stocks Taylor Benson

Packaging suppliers Undisclosed

UK launch date September 2011

The wild bird feed market might not be the most obvious sector to form part of a retail revolution. But retailer Pets at Home’s latest product to hit shelves is part of a growing trend. Its new premium own brand A little bird told me…, is part of an increasing trend for UK retailers to create standalone products that are totally independent of the retailer’s own-label branding – they’re called venture brands.

“Venture brands allow retailers to give real value back to the consumer,” explains Stocks Taylor Benson account design director Antony Smith. “It’s not just about offering a cheaper alternative. A strong considered design solution can instil a perception of quality and credibility that a regular own brand might not achieve. As such, there’s a brand idea that shoppers can buy into, and with which retailers can expand into other lines.”

While A little bird told me… forms part of a wider market movement, there’s a story behind the creation of the brand and its packaging. Design agency Stocks Taylor Benson was appointed back in March of this year to create the name, identity and the packaging of the new wild bird range.

“It came off the back of other success stories Pets at Home had in other categories such as Wainwright’s [for dogs] and Woodlands [for small pets],” Smith explains. “The wild bird category was crying out for its own brand.”

Natural look

The brief was clear: to create a look that would “ooze natural cues”. The flexible plastic packaging was integral to protecting the product – a range of four specific feeds for birds including robins and finches.

But while the material does its basic job of protecting the product, Stocks Taylor Benson felt that it could do more.

To assist in the natural feel, a kraft paper effect together with a matt varnish presented a more tactile look and feel that helps the perception of a wholesome product.

Bright colours are used to ensure standout on shelf. Like the material, a balance needed to be struck and it couldn’t be seen as being artificial. Shoppers also had the added benefit of seeing the product itself.

A window effect was created on the word ‘Food’ to show consumers exactly what they were buying.

“Opaque packs with just a picture of the feed can often leave the shopper guessing what’s inside,” explains Smith. “We decided, in addition, to include a window on the side of the pack.” The pack format and flexible plastic substrate was given to Stocks Taylor Benson by Pets at Home. It was left to get on with the job of coming up with an applied design to the pack format plus the brand name. While it’s early days on the sales figures front, the client is happy with the end result.

“With our ambition to offer the best wild bird product range on the market, A little bird told me… takes wild birds back to nature providing great food with natural look and feel packaging,” says Pets at Home head of innovation and private brands Claire Gavin. “The tone of voice is informative but conversational, with a touch of wit, which was just what we were looking for.”

The range is stocked exclusively in over 290 Pets at Home stores and available in 1kg packs. Ravishing Robin, Fantastic Finch Food, Scrumptious Crumble Food and Super Crunchy Suet Food have made an impression on the client. Stocks Taylor Benson’s work has been considered versatile enough to roll out across future extensions, such as wild bird treats and accessories.

It’s a project that’s one of many across the retail sector – a venture brand designed to stop the shopper and demonstrate that own brands are about quality.

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