SWS Consulting, LLC

Case Study:

Project Boomerang

I know of at least three Project Boomerangs that we have worked on for customers. The projects were named for the Australian Aborigine weapon which has a tendency to loop back to the hunter if it misses it’s mark. Likewise, the projects were good ideas that were tried more than once by organizations, and failed to reach conclusion.

Some of those failures could have been avoided if the project had been properly envisioned and ideated in the early stages. Some organizations work on a development without adequate subject matter expertise. We can provide a team of plastics and packaging experts to compliment your in house talent. In this case of Project Boomerang, the client was expert at putting products into cartons and flexible packaging, but they acknowledged that their knowledge about rigid plastic containers was limited. They wisely looked for an outside resource to complement their able packaging staff to fulfill the project ambitions.

The target was a maple syrup package for a well known brand that already had a number one complementary brand in the breakfast space. Their idea was to launch a co-branded syrup and leverage their market position. This program had been tried before in the organization without success.

This time however, the client also attacked a consumer insight. They uncovered through research that mom’s were looking for a package that the kids could use without making a mess. The real genius of the project was to marry the package with the newly available dispensing caps with check valves. This required us to look at favorable shapes that would rebound properly and work with the cap when the package was full and empty. We also had to think about fitting the bottle to smaller hands. The concept drawings in the banner are a recreation of the leading concept envisioned by the client. One of our contributions was to add textures on the bottle that had dual purpose of conveying brand equity and also making the package more secure in the hand.

Programs like this have many wants and worries. The final iconic bottle was a complete departure for the product category. It did not look like traditional syrup bottles. As backup, we maintained a more conventional shaped design right up to the commercial decision, and tested both through filling and distribution. Ultimately the client made the right call and a new brand was launched.

The lessons of this program for me were:
• Make sure the team has adequate technical depth to avoid costly errors
• Envision packaging with a purpose and design with intent
• Build contingency into bold programs