New Packaging Is Vibrant and Playful as It Embraces an Authentic View of Parenting
With help from brand agency CBX, The First Years brand’s newly redesigned packaging transcends outdated storylines that have long dominated the baby aisle.
“Gone is the baby boomer fantasy of angelic babies and perfect parents blissing out in la la land,” said Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer. “Instead, CBX worked with The First Years to do something refreshing for this category. We actually embraced the awesome — but at times messy and gritty — reality of the parenting journey. This is something millennial moms can relate to.”
With new logos, fonts, “selfie”-style imagery and warmer colors, the redesigned packaging for products such as bathtubs, sippy cups and breast pumps began to hit the baby aisles in January. In addition to crafting three millennial-friendly packaging formats for The First Years’ 2015 rollout, CBX also developed a set of packaging guidelines geared toward applying the brand to future products.
“Now a part of TOMY International, the First Years has been a trusted name in the baby category since the 1950s and is known for putting a priority on the parenting experience,” Barrack said. “Indeed, this is the company that invented plastic-coated safety pins so that moms wouldn’t hurt their fingers. From a design perspective, however, there was a need for more storytelling and differentiation.”
The branding project, which included surveys of both new and existing moms, was important in part because competition for shoppers’ attention is so keen in the baby category, said Barrack.
Traditionally, the baby aisle has been packed with an array of products featuring flawless photography of cooing babies along with somewhat clinical imagery suggesting safety and security.
“We recognized the need to stand out and stand for something,” said Willie Wilkov, Chief Marketing Officer of TOMY International. “Our goal was to bring some freshness and reality to a tired category. We appreciate that CBX pushed our thinking because we wanted to push the envelope. The result is a visually relatable brand that speaks directly to the next generation of parents using honest, real language.”
In addition to playfulness, vibrancy and a sense of discovery, the new brand emphasizes straight talk. For example, CBX and The First Years chose photography that would seem right at home on Facebook or Instagram. “There’s a humor and irreverence to the photography we chose,” said Barrack. “We went with pictures that an actual mom might have taken after something unusual or funny happened, not a perfectly posed shot with perfect lighting. On The First Years’ new packages, the baby might even have a stain on his shirt.
“After all, millennials are looking for honest conversation about parenting, including candor about imperfection and realness,” Barrack continued. “They want to make their own choices. To them, parenting is a new form of freedom in a way. It isn’t the end of something; it is a new beginning.”