2015 Makeover Challenge Reveal: Gelcomm



“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.” 


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.

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