This year, the Package Design community will have the opportunity to weigh in on blue-sky design concepts for one of the largest brands to participate in the Makeover Challenge to date. TELUS Communications Company has approximately $12 billion of annual revenue and 13.7 million customer connections, including 8.1 million wireless subscribers, 3.2 million wireline network access lines, 1.5 million Internet subscribers and 916,000 TELUS TV customers. The company provides a wide range of communications products and services, including wireless, data, Internet protocol, voice, television, entertainment and video, and is Canada’s largest healthcare IT provider. TELUS team members and retirees have also contributed more than $396 million to charitable and not-for-profit organizations and volunteered more than 6 million hours of service to local communities since 2000. The Association of Fundraising Professionals named TELUS the most outstanding philanthropic corporation globally for 2010. It also aims to be the most consumer-friendly brand in all of its markets.
TELUS was one of the most prepared brands to compete in the Makeover Challenge during my tenure as Package Design’s editor-in-chief. Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the lead for this project, speaks plainly and truthfully about the restrictions placed on its package design work: “We have a lot of strict guidelines because we are such a well-known brand in Canada, so we came to this contest to see how fresh eyes from different backgrounds look at our packaging.”
All four competing design firms met with TELUS’ branding team to learn about the brand, and Alasi provided a plethora of written guidelines for everything from color and type use in addition to Venn diagrams about the brand and research on TELUS’ target market.
While it was refreshing to see a brand owner so engaged with the competitors, I also knew that the competitors—BrandFirst, Gelcomm, Galileo Global Branding Group and Porchlight—would need to have the fences lowered a bit to really strut their stuff. So, we opened up the contest to officially allow the four branding and design firms to submit two concepts—one adhering to the brand guidelines and principles and another that would stretch TELUS’ view of its brand.
You can view the concepts on pages 24 through 31 and vote for your favorite strategic approach and design concept at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge. When casting your vote, Alasi asks that voters weigh TELUS’ business and branding needs in addition to the aesthetics of the package design concepts. “Consider how important our brand is to us, and how much time and energy invested by the teams of people who are dedicated to making sure that all of the elements that are going out for TELUS are on brand and consistent,” she says. “Also consider which concept will sell the device the best. Prepaid customers can be more fickle than a postpaid customer, they are not tied to us in any way.” The package design is used to help start that relationship “right off the bat.” The most popular design, determined by votes by the Package Design community, wins the challenge and will be featured in the issue preceding our 2016 Package Design Matters Conference, to be held at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs, Florida, on January 20 to 22.
Package Design thanks FiberMark North America Inc., a world-class manufacturer and global distributor of fiber-based decorative covering materials and dyed-through paperboards, for sponsoring the contest so we don’t have to charge entry fees. The company forms a rich tapestry of inspired top-of-the-line products for luxury packaging and upscale collateral helping premier brands stand out ever more distinctively. We would also like to thank Caps57, which has kindly offered its color-accurate prototyping services to our contest competitors.
TELUS chose to makeover the packaging for its Microsoft Lumia 435 phone paired with its prepaid service for the 12th annual Package Design Makeover Challenge.
BrandFirst Creative Agency
“As a group, we liked BrandFirst’s [close-in] concept the most,” Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the company’s lead for the Makeover Challenge, remarks. This group, created by Alasi, was designed to address multiple points of influence in the packaging lifecycle and included internal and external marketing and design experts. Invited to comment and analyze the Makeover Challenge concepts were the agency that serves as its print broker, the managers who work on the company’s retail accounts, and the marketing team for TELUS’ prepaid products.
The group evaluated the designs with the goal of communicating the TELUS brand but grabbing more attention from shoppers, which Alasi admits is not an easy feat. “I gave the contestants a lot of brand requirements,” she quips. “BrandFirst was the agency that stuck closer to what our current concept is. They followed my brief very closely and got the TELUS brand onto the packaging.”
Brec Morgan, managing partner at BrandFirst, recalls, “The creative brief was very specific and as we were reading through, we were getting a little bit nervous because we didn’t know how much openness we would have and how much we were going to be able to reach in order to do our designs. But after we talked to them and they walked us through our branding, we got more comfortable with them and our client interaction with them.”
Alasi remarks, “They asked good questions. They had follow up after the brand presentation. We even sent emails back and forth with further questions and answers.”
Through that interaction, a level of trust was built between the two companies. “They started to give us a little bit more leniency,” Morgan says.
Dianna Rogers, senior associate, strategy and new business initiatives at BrandFirst, adds, “It was nice that they were open to seeing something a little more out of the box as well as closer in. The ability to do two different designs was good for our designer.”
The close-in concept
The competitor’s creative director Victor Hunt notes that in both the close-in concept and the stretch concept that BrandFirst wanted to stay true to the TELUS brand. “We didn’t want the package to look totally different from everything else within the brand family,” he remarks. “For the closer-in concept, we wanted to challenge ourselves and just be constrained to the existing form, hierarchy and brand guidelines, and tweak it just a little bit. As part of the creative process, we did challenge some of those things in the stretch concept.”
Both concepts started with a competitive analyses of the prepaid mobile market. Hunt notes that the appearance of a phone is important to all consumers, whether they are in the prepaid or postpaid markets, because “phones are sort of an extension of who our personalities are and it’s almost like a bit of an aspirational thing.”
But BrandFirst observed that many phones in the prepaid market aren’t treated with that same reverence. “None of the packages really paid respect to the actual device, so we wanted to highlight the phone with the addition of a plastic cling that would show off the phone’s user interface. This would differentiate the product from competitors with empty black screens.”
The design firm also used color to emphasize the “friendlier” visual equities. “TELUS uses the critters as a sort of metaphor to make technology more friendly and approachable,” says Rogers. The agency also found that the bright colors of the TELUS birds could be leveraged to highlight the phone’s many features, from its touchscreen to high-resolution camera. “We thought it would be a cool way to incorporate a different icon for each of the colors that would then move on to their website and then move on to the inserts inside the phone with the instructions and things like that,” says Morgan. The company’s brand colors, especially the TELUS green, was used to create a focal point around the product.
All strategies earned high marks from Alasi. “They used the critters,” she exclaims. “They also used the brand color to make the package look a bit more premium. Carrying that color through to the vinyl cling at the front of the device was another good touch.”
The stretch concept
For its stretch concept, TELUS decided to take a more conversational approach while keeping in mind TELUS’ guidelines that its critters are shown exhibiting realistic behaviors and not take on comic-like action such as engaging in verbal dialogue. “Our farther-out concept features a big hero bird with its wing outstretched like it’s waving to you,” Morgan says. “But the conversation bubbles are positioned not so much like the bird is talking to you but the phone is talking to you. Instead, we have the birds doing more natural actions that make the phone buying and activating process more approachable.”
Hunt adds, “During the competitive audit, we noticed that none of TELUS’ competitors could articulate what the plan was in simple terms. If a consumer is choosing between two phones with similar aesthetic appeal, the one way to help them lean toward your brand is to articulate what exactly is the plan. So we tried to make that as simple as possible, setting up a one, two, three, four process and a non-complicated way to communicate that on package as well as on the website.”
BrandFirst reports that both concepts were seen as on brand. “We were a little nervous when presenting the second concept because we were stretching it a little bit,” Morgan recalls. “But when Andrea saw it she was like, ‘Oh, you guys made it sound like it was so much more far out than it is. This is really screaming TELUS, and it’s not too far out at all.’”
Part of the agency’s ability to stretch the brand guidelines and still capture its personality can be attributed to its collaboration style. Says Alasi, “Brandfirst, Porchlight and Gelcomm were all really great to work with.”
VOTE ONLINE OR IN PERSON
You can cast your vote now for BrandFirst Creative Agency’s concepts at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge, or in person,
September 28-30, at the Package Design booth (#S-6418) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and
will be featured in the November/December 2015 issue.
Galileo Global Branding Group
The shelf impact of Galileo Global Branding Group’s stretch concept is undeniable. With its close-up body part imagery, the competitor chose to swing for the rafters rather than bunt for the bases. And it was the Galileo concept that was most memorable to Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the company’s lead for the Makeover Challenge.
“The strongest emotional reaction I had to Galileo’s design was the use of the body parts,” she remarks. “It was different, and something that surprised me.” Time will tell if Package Design’s readers’ reaction will be as visceral as Alasi’s.
The stretch concept
The use of body parts as the primary imagery is well intentioned and was thought out carefully, though. “We realized that this concept was very unexpected, but we actually stand by that because we think that that’s one of the most important things about making the TELUS brand become something that’s very easily noticeable,” Lee Gobbi, creative director of Galileo Branding, says.
Gobbi and his team wanted to create something with high visual impact that would communicate the brand promise without the barriers of language, as both French and English are commonly spoken in the Canadian telecommunications giant’s primary market.
The jumping-off point for the design was the company’s name TELUS. “What we took out of the name TELUS was literally splitting the two words, the brand name,” Gobbi explains. “We literally split the words TELUS up into Tel-us which really kind of fits the mold perfectly of what a phone is about. It’s literally talking and listening. Today’s devices are about human communication in a more intimate form, and we got a driver out of that idea. The design starts with a beautiful pair of giant lips right up on the front panel and inside there is a very large, good looking ear, with the word ‘listen’ in English and ecouter in French.
The result is a very dramatic billboard that communicates the actions of talking and listening. Gobbi adds, “It’s all about grabbing the person’s attention and saying, ‘Hey, look at me!’ But we were very sensitive to making sure that the TELUS brand mark is very clearly and very openly printed on the package in as many places as possible.”
Project art director Craig Minella adds, “We’ve leveraged the TELUS name in a way that made our concept relevant and introduced some personality, some human touch in a category that is dominated with functionality, communication, as well as just an overall techie feel.”
Katie Mai, senior designer at Galileo, agrees, “By introducing a human touch to the packaging, we’re taking a brand that was a bit static on shelf and injecting some life into it.” Jun Yang, who was a designer on the project, notes, “I’m proud of the intimate human touch this concept creates, in addition to the functionality of the structural design [used for both concepts].”
The close-in concept
“We stood by our guns on the talk-listen concept,” Glenn Pfeifer, executive creative director at Galileo Global Branding Group, says. “But we also did an alternate version that showed the parrot close up on the cover.”
Gobbi notes that the close-in concept uses TELUS’ existing visual assets, using animal photography to make the brand seem friendly. The parrot was depicted on the outside of the box, and bunny ears were used on the inside panel.
“We felt strongly about the work however if the idea of not having any critter on it at all was a deal breaker for TELUS,” Pfeifer remarks. “We did not want them to at least not consider this idea of the overall package makeover with the talk-listen concept.”
Other design elements are also common between both concepts, especially when it comes to the structural design.
“We wanted to create a packaging format that was efficient from a production standpoint,” says Gobbi. “Another priority was sensitivity to the environmentally conscious piece of it. We also wanted to make the package more consumer friendly from a size standpoint.”
The agency developed an inner packaging component to replace the inner clamshell. The paperboard tray is designed to house multiple phone styles and sizes and continue to display the TELUS brand long after the original purchase. “The little flaps that you can see, the indents on the facing of this internal package actually hold the phone in place,” Gobbi says. “They keep the product in place and can contain the smallest of phones to the largest of phone without any problem of any of them slipping out. So that little indent is deep enough so that it will contain the smallest device securely.
“And when you pull the tray out and you take all your pieces that you need for the phone, you look at the instructions and clip the tray together in a very simple way,” he says. “The tray becomes a housing to stand the phone on your desk so that you don’t throw that away, which you would have done with the current packaging’s vacu-form.”
Alasi remarks, “I liked the fact that they really tried to make the package eco-friendly and easy to assemble. The concepts definitely took costs and environment into the equation.”
To demonstrate the intricate structural design concepts, Galileo created a variety of mockups, from interactive 3-D images embedded into PDF images to a physical mock-up that was shipped to Alasi.
VOTE ONLINE OR IN PERSON
You can cast your vote now for Galileo Global Branding Group’s concepts at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge, or in person, September 28-30, at the Package Design booth (#S-6418) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and will be featured in the November/December 2015 issue.
“Out of our target markets,” Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the company’s lead for this year’s Makeover Challenge brand, says, “younger customers are generally more profitable for us. Seniors will often just pay $10 a month to have cell service available.”
Gelcomm delivered a youth-centric design as a result of the discussions and collaborations between the agency and brand. “After the brand briefing meeting, we went back to TELUS with a laundry list, including a request to focus the target market,” Alicia Goodyear Lichens, creative director at Gelcomm recalls. “We told them that you’ve got these demographics but it really runs all the way from tween to the golden years and everything in between. The client was just really forthright, honest and helpful. She knew her market well enough and was able to provide clarity quickly. When we asked about the segments of the target market with the most business potential, she was like, ‘Easy, focus on the youth and the credit challenged.’ That was awesome.”
And it helped the firm begin to take apart the brand guidelines to discover the creative possibilities. “After the brand briefing, it felt almost as if we were being told make over our brand but don’t change anything,” Goodyear Lichens recalls. “So we really took their brand bible and their messaging and their visual elements and kind of broke it down to the minutiae. What we found was a bunch of great ingredients. We had quite a beautiful typeface in Helvetica, a great green, a beautiful purple and the encouragement to use white space whether that’s white or some other use of that.”
With its design toolbox in place, Gelcomm went back to TELUS for more clarifications. “One of the follow-ups we did was to ask for a couple of specific problems to solve,” Goodyear Lichens says. “Again, Andrea was able to boil down the challenge to its essence. She told us, ‘We need the packaging smaller, and it needs to be more consumer friendly.”
The stretch concept
Gelcomm then started diving into two lanes to turnaround the project quickly—looking at structure and the visual challenge of conveying friendliness to young consumers, whether they are tweens and teens using a phone paid for by their parents or young adults learning how to use credit better.
“We went through iteration upon iteration both on the design side and the structural side,” Goodyear Lichens recalls. “We explored flaps. We explored bags.” As a longtime Package Design reader, she wanted to honor the spirit of the Makeover Challenge, which traditionally showcases only one concept per competing agency. Goodyear Lichens was determined to create a concept that could serve both as the close-in and stretch concept with just a few tweaks.
“Typically, when we present to clients, we always show three concepts, close-in, a little further and wackadoo,” she quips. “But I wanted to approach this like a contest, where you only have one shot. That’s what makes it a challenge!”
The only graphic element, Goodyear Lichens explains, that wasn’t already part of the brand’s visual assets was a new teal color. “We were very forthright when we presented to the client,” she says, “We told them that we added an accent color and explained our rationale: A very gently composed accent color, which is very close to TELUS Green, helps identify the phone specifically as a prepaid product offering. Then we introduced this idea of the gradation from green to teal.”
The close-in concept
Gelcomm also designed variants that used TELUS brand colors of green and purple and a version that was green and white. Once the color strategy was established, the team could focus on structure. “I actually lived in Canada, Toronto specifically,” Goodyear Lichens explains. “So I understood how packaging is displayed there, and our engineer Cesar Modesto is well versed in Walmart’s shelf requirements and pegging. We looked at the prepaid mobile packaging and saw that a lot of the packages are widening. I understand why designers are doing that because the packages are impactful. But we know that you give a business more selling opportunities with a narrower package and we had our marching orders from Andrea. And when we saw the design with another peg added to the display, it really made an awesome block at retail!”
Another business reality that Gelcomm addressed was costs. “We were real excited to try to get around the $2 mark and introduce aesthetically pleasing materials that are either recycled or recyclable,” says Goodyear Lichens. And Alasi says for the most part Gelcomm succeeded. “They costed the package out saying it was about $2.15 a piece when I had said to work up to $2,” Alasi remarks. “But changing that into Canadian dollars and adjusting for this particular product’s volume, I suspect that it will be closer to $4.”
Alasi did note that the materials do convey a high-end image, with a molded paper pulp tray. “This pulp is sugar-cane-based, so it’s 100% recyclable,” Goodyear Lichen exclaims. “It’s great for electronics because of the way it cushions, and it’s aesthetically pleasing. It’s got a very pretty clean, creamish texture so it’s not that dark green eco look, and it’s also embossable. We also wanted to sell the product through touch.”
The agency is recommending a soft touch coated paper that Goodyear Lichens describes as like suede but with better print capabilities. She remarks, “You can print beautiful colors on this soft textured surface—whites, crisp colors and all that!
“We wanted to bring the high-end electronics experience, like the big A—Apple” Goodyear Lichens adds. “We wanted to bring that experience and excitement into prepaid for the rest of the consumers, and we wanted to bring what could be a win for the client.”
Alasi says, Gelcomm’s strategic work is evident in the concepts. “It’s visually appealing,” she remarks. “They took into consideration that moment when the customer actually unboxes the device and how that is an exciting moment, especially for the young teen when it’s their first phone.”
VOTE ONLINE OR IN PERSON
You can cast your vote now for Gelcomm’s concepts at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge, or in person, September 28-30, at the Package Design booth (#S-6418) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and will be featured in the November/December 2015 issue.
“Porchlight really listened to the brand presentation,” Andrea Alasi, a product specialist in TELUS’ product marketing department and the company’s lead for this year’s Makeover Challenge brand, remarks. “And they were the friendliest. Out of the four, I would say that we built the best business relationship with Porchlight.”
Alasi says the business relationship between TELUS and Porchlight was so collaborative that the design firm might have stumbled upon TELUS’ next marketing direction. “I’m not sure if they did this consciously or not,” Alasi says, “but the second concept, the one that’s supposed to be the stretch concept, used images of people. We just started to use people in our marketing campaigns. Prior to Christmas time, it was always critters never people.”
The stretch concept
“This concept speaks to me the most because it is a personal connection to another person’s lifestyle,” Lynnette Pope, senior art director at Porchlight and the designer behind both of Porchlight’s concepts, says. “The billboarding on the front of each package is just a really good way to talk directly to the consumer.”
The use of black-and-white photography of a variety of target consumers would enable the brand to hit multiple areas of its target demographic without having to choose a visual style that would appeal more to one age group versus the other. The packaging could even be digitally printed to enable even more variety in the photography.
This, Pope says, is especially important when you are reaching out to the older cell phone users. “If my mom saw the package with the older person on it, I’m pretty sure she would pick that phone in a heartbeat because the package visually tells her that she will be able to use it. TELUS was great about sharing the demographics of people who buy its prepaid phones, and I said, ‘Let’s use this data to our advantage.’ So we immediately started looking at different types of photography and different use scenes.”
The agency chose to use black-and-white photography versus color for two reasons: 1) it kept the phone the hero with its full color vinyl cling and 2) the photography had such a clean look that it functioned as white space, keeping with TELUS’ branding layout requirements of creating designs as simplified as possible.
“What I like about the way we approach things is that it’s not about choose design number one or number two,” Greg Corey, founder of Porchlight, says. “It’s about, which problems do you want to solve. Which concepts solve the problem that you feel you have the most? For this project, each concept solves a couple of problems for TELUS but they ultimately have to decide which one is the bigger issue for them. We design to make the client happy and solve the client’s issues and their problems.
“So I think the real challenge of this project, to be quite honest, is to listen to the client and give them what they ask for,” he adds. “So we really examined, tried to find the problems with their packaging, and it led to structure. That wasn’t easy. We see a lot of companies that need a lot of help. But TELUS didn’t need a lot of help. They’re pretty buttoned up.” The agency instead had to find specific answers to targeted problems that might not be immediately evident.
The closer-in concept
The stretch concept was designed to help TELUS boost sales or address any underlying sales problems for the device. But the closer-in concept was created to address cost and environmental issues.
“Here, we saw the problem as primarily structural not visual,” Corey says. “When we opened the current packaging and pulled the phone out, all the contents just spilled out. The charger just dropped on the floor, two coupons from Microsoft floated down, and the booklet was kind of loose. We set about to create a solution that wasn’t a separate clamshell for each device, because we know that would cause inventory problems and things of that nature.”
The answer came in a ridged stadium tray that would enable phones of multiple sizes to fit easily in the package. For the outer package, Porchlight recommended a dual-peg blistercard that would have a stronger environmental profile than a traditional clamshell package, would billboard well and stay steady on a pegboard, and pull the phone’s presence, literally, forward.
Porchlight then cleaned up the message hierarchy. “We realized that the logo on the current packaging didn’t have a lot of weight,” Corey recalls. “Even though they asked for a lot of white space, the current packaging had every corner filled. Lynnette did a brilliant job of giving the logo its own area to live in and not crowding it with a bunch of stuff. The result is that the messaging is a lot cleaner and easier to read even though we didn’t change their copy. It’s the exact same copy!”
Pope adds, “We also cleaned up the icons slightly and moved them to the bottom of the front panel. My thinking was that most prepaid phones are peg-locked where you can’t take the phone package off the pegs. Moving the icons lower would make them easier to read.”
VOTE ONLINE OR IN PERSON
You can cast your vote now for Porchlight’s concepts at www.packagedesignmag.com/makeoverchallenge, or in person, September 28-30, at
the Package Design booth (#S-6418) at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The agency with the most votes wins the challenge and will be featured in the November/December 2015 issue.