Fertile new ground

By Sam Milne
On the 3rd of December 2017, David Attenborough stood up at the UN climate change summit in Poland, and declared ‘collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.’ It’s an ominous quote that echoed the sentiment of the UN who declared that 'We are the last generation that can stop climate change'.

With these perilous warnings ringing in our ears, we are thankfully finally seeing sustainability going mainstream, creating fertile new ground for brands to play in. Recently a coalition of major brands joined together to experiment with a zero-waste platform. This new venture, will see future-consumers tossing their used packaging into a ‘reuse’ bin that will deliver the empty containers back to brands for reuse. If globalised, this concept will have massive repercussions for the entire FMCG industry in the future.

However sustainability going mainstream is bringing with it a range of unique design challenges, even today. Fluid recently completed a project with i care. A recycled toilet paper product, i care had found themselves with a foot in two camps. On the one side were boutique premium environmental products, saying all the right things but remaining out of the price range of the average consumer. On the other, a mainstream toilet paper industry, responsible for flushing 27,000 trees a day down the toilet, a lot of them from old growth forests and all in the name of ‘comfort.’

i care having recently created a technique that would deliver a product with comparable comfort to leading brands of mainstream toilet paper– partnered with Fluid to deliver a pack design that would appeal to the consumers of traditional toilet paper products but delivering all the comfort benefits of a product that was 100% recycled.

Success meant recognising that while designers like to design beautiful objects, in this competitive low-interest category, anything that was seen as too ‘out-of-the-ordinary’ would do more to scare off consumers than entice them to buy.

Fluid employed the use of easily understood semiotics; soft curves, a cute and cuddly brand mascot and existing brand elements like iconic black packaging, to create shelf standout without being aggressively unfamiliar.

Marketing environmental credibility will continue to evolve over the coming year as brands and consumers continue to adopt new attitudes towards the environment while looking for familiarity from their everyday brands. Fluid urges all our clients to consider their role within our shared global future, if you believe as we do, that brands must be good global citizens, then partner with us to bring sustainability to the waiting masses.