Research

Field Notes: Living Luxe

Posted: September 26, 2016

the rebrand

“Mr. Bubble is synonymous with childhood fun,” says Michelle Hanson, director of marketing of bath and body products, The Village Company, parent company of the Mr. Bubble brand. “Now with our Luxe line, you [adults] can pamper yourself and enjoy a relaxing escape.” She also noted that the brand aimed to create a line that enabled adults to indulge in a bit of nostalgia for themselves or purchase the fun and giftable beauty products for friends and family.

Wrapped in signature Mr. Bubble pink, seafoam green or blushed peach reusable packaging to match its respective fragrance—the original Mr. Bubble, Sweet & Clean, or Sparkling Sorbet, Mr. Bubble fans have their choice of an array of Luxe by Mr. Bubble products including Bubble the Day Away Powdered Bubble Bath, which the brand brought back because of end-customer demand; Daydream Shower Crème; All Buttered Up Body Butter; Just a Spritz Fragrance Mist, Shine On Lip Balm in a retro tin slide-top; and Bubbletini Bath Bombs that are packed in a martini shaker.

The retro aspects of the brand extension’s visual identity was a risky departure. Do Package Design readers think the risk was a good one and the execution lives up to the concept?

 

 

the verdict

It doesn’t take much for me to see the bright character based packaging of Mr. Bubble in my mind’s eye. I don’t think about whether it was good or bad design—just that it represented fun!

Now comes Luxe by Mr. Bubble. Unfortunately Luxe fails to capture my imagination as the original Mr. Bubble did. Period style branding requires a sensitivity to type and colors that many individuals don’t have or don’t research enough.

I must’ve seen at least four different typefaces on the packaging. The design language is almost nonexistent, and the execution of the simplest shapes are juvenile and amateur at best. There’s no design hierarchy. No consistent product identity and the color palette is lawless. It’s cute and poppy from afar but truly disappointing when you get close. It’s too bad, because the potential for greatness is huge with Luxe. I just hope someone realizes what has happened here and fixes it.

Ali Sabet
principal and creative director, Sabet Brands

 

Older isn’t always better. One area for improvement is the inclusion of a graphic device that conveyed a product improvement or update.

But the overall design and branding, including the colors and geometry are spot on—evoking tail fins and fox stoles. And the specific design and branding attributes fit with flair and comfort. The products belong together. Who wouldn’t want all of them?

Christopher J. Ritz
principal designer, Planet R Creative Services

 

An admirable effort to stretch a quirky kids brand to a new demographic, but does it translate? I think not.

Although aimed at moms, the kitschy color and font choices, as well as the scents strike me as appealing more to the tween market. Product forms and graphics read more drugstore retro than luxurious. Lastly, the tagline, “The Original Brand of Bath Luxury,” is a curious choice for a brand that for 50 years has been exclusively cartoony and specifically for grade school and younger.

GG Rigelhaupt
consulting creative director specializing in design and strategy

 

How much Vintage is too much? This is vintage design over kill!

One of the most stubborn misconceptions about package design is that it has to choose sides—vintage or modern? The most beautiful and shelf popping packages, skillfully mix old and new fonts and color schemes, keeping a true personality of the brand and harmony with the correct nostalgic feel. This is a secret to ensuring that the brand won’t lose its impact on shelf quickly.

James Ferranti
CMO and partner, QNY Creative

 

Nostalgia is one thing, but looking and smelling like grandma may not be what a modern woman is looking for. This packaging feels like a counterpoint to current category codes within health and beauty that tend to feel evocative, innovative, activated or often quite minimal. These packs rely totally on cliché retro clip art looking graphics, colors and visuals that makes the packs feel a bit fun, but the overall look is flat and comes across as cheap.

Jason Rosenberg
design director, Global Snacks, PepsiCo

 

The new Mr. Bubble launch dismisses the brand’s robust heritage, equity, target audience and iconic design strategy. Rather than producing a gimmicky retro product line for women, I would challenge the brand to consider how they can use their past to reinvent the future of bath time–innovative forms, flavors, dispensing–something that would pay off their equity of “making getting clean almost as much fun as getting dirty.” A clever category transformation could strengthen the brand’s relevance to kids, as well as extend their reach to both women and men in a long-term and meaningful way.

Jennifer (Frankovich) Rippe
vice president and managing director of Williams Murray Hamm

 

Mr. Bubble, an established and well-known children’s bath product, has developed branding for a new line of products by creating an authentic retro look designed to appeal to adults.

Combining colors, typography and vintage-style illustrations, the effect is pleasing and eye catching. The result is an attractive, recognizable brand that is carried throughout the entire product line.

Mary Richinick
principal of Mary Richinick Graphic Design

 

Overall the graphic design of the new Luxe Life line is evocative, differentiated and has substantial shelf impact, however at the same time the design is very complex. The overall visual look, tone and feel is a perfect match for the consumer that wants to be pamper themselves and take a trip down memory lane!

My wish for the brand is that they were more selective with the visual priorities, for example, the illustration, the product name and the master brand all have the same visual impact. If the front panels were simplified, the same emotion and message could be communicated but in a more focused, succinct way.

Paige Robinson
associate creative director at Kao USA

 

The packaging is well done and conveys clearly that the products are a more grown up version of the original Mr. Bubble. With the combination of soft pinks, greens and the silver caps are well coordinated. They did an excellent job combining these colors to make the products very approachable.

That said, in my opinion, the font style and the image of the woman look a bit out dated and convey a feeling of the 1950s. A more modern female image and sleeker type style would more clearly articulate the branding message that this is a fun, yet luxurious brand.

Suzanne Roberta
co-founder of beauty brand Adesse New York

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