Brands Through Time

January 5, 2009

by joseph.young.2009

In the process of my recent move, I came across some products that have survived several decades on the market. It was interesting to see these products still in the market and the changes that have occured.

The first product is Windex, a liquid based glass cleaner.

I assure you that the fluid in the right and left bottles are both Windex. Though the older formula doesn’t have the bright blue color of the new bottle, they both clean glass surfaces well. Some interesting things I noticed: The old Windex was owned by Drackett. The product was targeted at businesses, with its positioning statement reading through in the three bullet points at the bottom of the bottle. Also, the bottle lists the businesses that could benefit from the product: food service, hotels, motels, hospitals, office buildings, nursing homes, schools.

The bottle on the left shows a recent branding of the product. It’s definitely targeted at the consumer these days, and no longer a B2B product. The owner of the Windex brand is now SC Johnson, another chemical company. It’s interesting that both bottles use the word, “institutional” as a descriptor for the product. The value proposition has definitely changed, with the focus being on “streak-free” these days. Another thing to notice is how the new bottle and nozzle are better designed for ergonomics. A small change but important.

Next up, we have Cut-Rite, a wax paper product.

Cut-Rite

Cut-Rite

The older Cut-Rite box was owned by Scott, a paper company (best guess). It’s interesting to see that the price was so prominently labed on the old packaging and is non-exhistant in the current packaging. With promotions and coupon constanting change the prices of goods today, it would be hard to put a price permenantly on a product these days. Looking at the old box, you see a lot of advertisements for complementary products. A wall dispenser for your wax paper. A mug set for “soup ‘n’ beverage.” My best guess is that these were products that Scott had a partership with to collect royalties off sales. They would advertise the products, have them sold by another manufacturer, and then collect royalties off sales. I doubt they were selling the space on their box as pure advertising space.

The recent packaging for Cut-Rite shows that it is now owned by Reynolds. Instead of an easy to read price, you have an easy to scan barcode. In lieu of partner products, the box is covered with informational material on other applications for wax paper. Everyone knows that you can use wax paper to bake with, but did you know that it’s also great for reheating products and protecting kitchen services. If selling the consumer complementary products didn’t work, just get them to use up this product sooner so they have to buy more!

The biggest takeaway from these products is the idea of constantly improving, even when you’re the market leader. These objects are tools. Tools to help you clean, cook, or even protect your kitchen service. A close friend told me the other day in a conversation, “a tool can always be replaced.” And it’s true. If you don’t find ways to make yourselfe valuable, someone else will come out with something better and replace you. Never rest on your laurels.

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