Client: Forest Labs
Brand: Forever Ink
Design: Anthem Worldwide
UK launch date: November 2012
Usually, when a new piece of packaging is designed, there are a certain set of rules to follow. The brand often exists already, so a revamp is more of a new twist on an established look. Or there is a certain visual language associated with the product or the category that consumers understand and the brand either wants to conform to, or disrupt.
So it’s a rare opportunity to create a new brand and its packaging entirely from scratch; even rarer to be able to do that in a category that barely exists. But that was the opportunity handed to design and branding agency Anthem Worldwide when pharmaceutical business Forest Labs invented a range of creams and ointments designed to protect tattoos.
“Forest Labs came to us with just the blank tube; they had the product and nothing else,” says Mark Ringer, the recently-appointed executive creative director at Anthem. “The challenge was that we had a blank canvas. And we had to make sure we had something with the right tone that would resonate with the audience.”
Most people with tattoos, he explains, protect and moisturise them with creams and ointments more commonly used for babies’ skin. And there are a lot of those people. In the UK, a 2010 survey of 1,000 adults by the Ask Jeeves website found that 29% of 16- to 44-year-olds have been inked; making tattoos mainstream. “It’s not only people riding Harley Davidsons who have tattoos,” says Ringer.
Anthem’s solution was to commission tattoo artist to the stars Lou Molloy – the man behind David Beckham’s tattoos – to design an angel wings motif. Molloy has also endorsed the product, a key element in bringing the brand to its mainstream audience.
The design became the centre of a ‘guardian angel’ proposition for the brand – intended to communicate that the products will protect the tattoo throughout its life – and has been rolled out across both the tube and the outer carton of the packaging.
The agency also came up with the name Forever Ink to reflect the brand proposition; and the names of the variants, Ink Balm, which is used to help the natural recovery of newly-tattooed skin, and Ink Shield, which is intended for use beyond that and claims to have a unique “ink lock” technology that protects and seals in the colour of the inks.
“The key thing is that the product is the guardian angel for tattoos,” he says. “It needed to look approachable and to have credibility with both tattoo artists and consumers, but we also gave it an austerity that would infer to the consumer that it works on a pharmaceutical level.” But packaging design was only half the story. The project gave Anthem an ideal case study for its recently-defined approach to brand design, which goes by the motto “brand ideas from the shelf out”. That means, says Ringer, that while the packaging is “the purest expression of the brand”, every other piece of marketing material should extend from that.
In the case of Forever Ink, that meant Anthem developing a range of other channels that would enhance the idea of the brand as a guardian; and increase the engagement of the brand’s buyers.
An iPhone app, for instance, is designed to offer timely advice to the user on when and how best to look after their tattoo. A Facebook page is intended to act as a hub for the tattoo-bearing community while, again, answering questions about how to look after the tattoo. A print advertising drive, point-of-sale material and a direct mail piece sent directly to tattoo parlours, encouraging tattoo artists to recommend the brand to customers, completed the campaign.
It’s early days to talk about the results as the launch took place last November but Ringer has ambitious plans for the product. “I want it to be the Fairy Liquid of the tattoo market”, he says. With a clean look and packaging at the heart of a wider campaign, there’s a good chance you’ll be see Forever Ink on a bathroom shelf near you soon.