The story of the 7-year old who redesigned a bottle of Waitrose Essential Brown Sauce may just be a charming human interest story to most, but to those in our line of work, it raises legitimate concern. The primary school child’s criticism of the original design was succinct and astute – it’s too boring and the ingredients shown are unidentifiable. One look at the bottle, and you know he’s right. Featuring illustrations of the ingredients that make up brown sauce, the bottle is almost dismal and, like the kid said, boring. There’s no need to conduct weeks of expensive research to reach this conclusion, but the sad truth is, there probably was.
Youngster’s opinions have the advantage of being completely honest, pure, and instinctual. Kids don’t over think it. They like it or they don’t. Good packaging is pretty, cool, and fun. Bad packaging is boring, nonsensical, and ugly. Perhaps the reviews we give our own work would be better if we followed their instinctual thought process.
He also created a new design, not with Illustrator or Photoshop, but with a few crayons and a sheet of paper. It is simple, clear and an improvement on the original. A children’s illustration is perfect for an own label brand, communicating basic and uncomplicated. It’s highly probable that the desire to communicate basic and uncomplicated led the creatives responsible for the former design to feature the few ingredients of brown sauce. Unfortunately, most people aren’t aware of brown sauce’s recipe. (Furthermore, tomatoes, dates and tamarind don’t particularly led themselves to compelling design.) The boy and his family didn’t and, to be honest, neither did we. What the child did know though, is how he uses it. Which is what led to his design – the perfect condiment for a fry up.
The addition of the child’s signature endorses the product, thus appealing to mothers and encouraging them to buy it for their families. Furthermore, it creates a dialogue with the consumer proving that even an ‘own label’ brand can and must find a way to engage consumers.
It’s a humble reminder to trust your instincts and not fall victim to tunnel vision when expressing an insight.
And finally a message to Harry from bluemarlin:
If your talent and passion for design continues to develop, there’s an internship waiting for you at bluemarlin when you graduate university in around 15 years. There’s always room for a mind like yours in an agency like ours.