International Delight Cleans Up its Design

The idea: International Delight might have had the power to transport coffee drinkers to an exotic other-world except for one small problem:  The creamer would often glop out of the top of the bottle. The mess on the counter snapped them out of that Jean-Luc moment of a café au lait on the Champs Elysees. This was just one problem with the hastily designed package, which WhiteWave Foods, a division of Dean Foods, inherited when it bought the brand. “Cream would pool in the top of the cap and spit out when you opened it,” said Trevor Bynum, marketing director for WhiteWave’s creamer brands. People were so perturbed by the drips, the flaky residue and the bowling pin-like bottles toppling over in their fridges that the company was receiving a ratio of 300 complaint letters to each positive one.
The plan: WhiteWave hired Fairfield, Conn., agency Product Ventures to rethink its bottle design for an operation that was dubbed, “Fix it now!” Stylistically, the silhouette was given a more Euro-modern look to go with its name. But, fixing the functional flaws came first so that the brand could compete with Nestlé’s Coffee-mate in store fridges (and stay upright in domestic ones). The package also was designed to withstand the entirely unnecessary shake test. International Delight doesn’t need to be mixed, but people do it instinctively. So, a “safety” feature assuages fears of christening their kitchens with cream. “It makes an audible ‘snap’ when it shuts,” Product Ventures CEO Peter Clarke said of the psychologically soothing sound.
The results: The new look and smooth pour immediately yielded positive results. The design, which is still rolling out, is responsible for a 3 to 5 percent unit growth, and a $1 million a year savings in production costs. Even the critics seem less jittery. Bynum said, “Now we’re seeing three praises for every complaint.”
From gripes to grips:
Even the indentation was a highly considered decision. Contrary to conventional thinking, consumer research indicated that people pour creamer at the counter, so the notch placement was ergonomically correct for someone standing. “‘You designed it for me,’ is how I’d paraphrase what people tell us [about the new design],” Bynum said. “It’s a lot about having coffee your way.”

Publish date: April 4, 2009 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT