A Fancier Fancy Feast? Does more sophisticated mean fancier?

Posted: February 17, 2010

The new Fancy Feast cat food cans reorganized the label information hierarchy and changed all the typefaces. Did Making Fancy Feast More Refined Sacrifice Any Brand Equity?

John Nunziato, creative director, Little Big Brands, Nyack, NY
My overall concern when I look at this is shopability. People rely strongly on color-coding in the pet food category and the new Fancy Feast design loses that element. In terms of the typography, I prefer the new choices aside from the variant type. And while I think the logo is an improvement, it feels like it should be a little weightier. I would have liked to see a solution that still takes into account the need to ramp up the sophistication level, but without making the consumer work harder to shop the brand.

Mark Pursey, creative director, Blue Marlin, New York, NY
The Fancy Feast redesign is indeed somewhat fancier. It’s been brought more in line with the proposition, and this can only be a good thing for the brand. The cleaner redesign retains the equities but the elements have been reorganized for improved information flow and added personality. The princess cat is now at the first thing you see on the left, typography is given a much needed makeover with some personality and premium qualities, and the product information reads cleanly from top to bottom. It all looks like a step in the right direction for the brand. But could they have gone further into premium and taste to really capture the premium market? Consumers will give the absolute best to their pets, so why not take Fancy Feast even more in line with their famous TV commercials and give them further reason to buy the best?

Amy Graver, owner/creative director, Elements, New Haven, CT
There are enough remaining elements—albeit reorganized—that remain the same that I don't feel the Fancy Feast brand equity was compromised. That being said, is this solution really fancier? I don't feel that this new design goes nearly far enough to read as “better.” To be completely honest, it leaves me rather flat. What has been updated—some of the fonts, the logo, and hierarchy of information—certainly are an improvement. However, the entire look is too airy and subtle to make the consumer even notice that something on the store shelf has changed, let alone improved.

Steve Perry, creative director, Bailey Brand Consulting, Plymouth Meeting, PA
It's hard to comment on the loss of brand equity without knowing what consumers currently associate with the brand. I suspect that black script logotype, the white cat head, and a hit of blue would be the equity elements. That said, it appears as though the goal here was to create an updated, more premium presentation. What's working: The new logotype makes the label feel less dated and alludes to the pet/owner bond. The new cat also seems less menacing. What's not working: Shelf impact may suffer because the new script is less bold. That combined with the removal of the color-coded bar causes the label to come across as more generic. Although the label may be "fancier," I think in the end that the redesign may have been at the expense of shelf impact and product segmentation.

Dean Lindsay, president, Dean Lindsay Design Inc., Wilmette, IL
The new Fancy Feast design change illustrates the high stakes and big bucks in the fiercely competitive and crowded field of pet feeding options. The new Fancy Feast has fancier logotype and a cuter chinchilla kitty (with less eyeliner). In my opinion, the new design seems to match more closely the Fancy Feast brand position as a gourmet, premium brand for consumers who are highly devoted to their cats. Seeing the new package on the shelf, designers might criticize the new logotype impact as well as the diminished branding and communication hierarchy, but in the marketplace, it seems the line between products for pet and owner has blurred, and the differences between their foods and packaging have faded, too (think: Godiva “treats”). I believe that kind of strategic design change supports the real equity of the brand for loyal pet parents.