The idea: Sometimes if it ain’t broke, you can still “fix” it, said the brand folks at Lindsay Olives. Until recently, its SKUs were sold in green and red cans that recalled the vivid, geometric “orange crate art” of the turn of the 20th century. However, olive trends changed and their casings need to reflect this. “People were fond of the old design; it had a nostalgic aspect and a quality aspect so we didn’t want to completely blow it up,” said Kate Hart, consumer marketing manager at Bell-Carter Foods in Lafayette, Calif. “But it was a little too nostalgic. It reminded them of Thanksgiving.” That’s not exactly the look you’re after when you’re trying to reinvent a fruit known as a garnish or recipe ingredient as a healthy contemporary snack.
How it was created: The brand embarked on a study about attitudes regarding olives and found two interesting points that packaging could address: First, olives can be polarizing—people love them or hate them—especially those green ones. Secondly, people who eat olives see the activity as fun. “When they start eating them, the context becomes social and lively,” Hart said. Therefore, stressing play on packaging could serve as an icebreaker for those intimidated by olives’ strong flavors and convey the fun of eating them.
The process: Agency Turner Duckworth, San Francisco came up with three distinct design concepts, and Lindsay decided on one that used whimsical doodles to illustrate various olive features. While some were sad to see the vintage design go, the drab green background was replaced by a more eye-popping red. Hart said, “[The green] was really recessive on shelves, and looked almost black in a darkly lit area.”
THE FINAL DESIGN
Size does matter: “The main thing we had to differentiate was the size of the olives,” said Hart. She described the illustrations as “back of the napkin type of scribbles or doodles.”
The deal with the doodles: Each Lindsay can or jar features artwork that corresponds to the particular type of olive that is inside—and pictured on it. For instance, Large Black Ripe shows a sketch of a tree that’s bending over from the weight of the fruit and for Jumbo the fruit is the body of a jumbo jet. These illustrated efforts also help to introduce newer items as Lindsay tries to extend olives beyond known uses as martini toppers and salad garnishes. For its portable Snackers, the olives serve as the wheels of a Volkswagen-type car. And for spicy Spanish Manzanilla, a green olive is modeling a sombrero. Across the work, the idea is to have fun and play with your food.