Neither Me One! or Me Too!

Ahold USA was recently awarded the Supermarket News Marketer of the Year award, and we are proud to be a very small part of the story with the redesign of their Guaranteed Value line . . . but first a little background.

In the last decade the North American retail marketplace has undergone a quiet revolution in private brand marketing, with most experts now saying that roughly 1 in every 4 purchases in food, drug, and mass retailers are store brands. Of course in some stores, like Trader Joe’s, it is much much higher. And those of us who have been helping retailers develop these new brands have welcomed, and frankly even pushed for, a radical shift in the two approaches retailers have historically taken to their brands . . . lets call them Me One! and Me Too!

Me One!
A singular approach to brand design, this was a tactic taken by most food and mass retailers in the last half of the 20th century, with virtually all products in their stores looking the same. This direction grew strongly during the 1950s and 1960s along with national TV advertising and a strong trend in retail consolidation. Its heyday was the 1970s and 1980s, with programs like Pathmark. It has thankfully been declining steadily since. Most food and mass retailers now take a multi-tiered approach to their private brand development.

Me Too!
This approach, using products that mimic the look national brand leaders, has been a bit more stubborn. It found an early home in Drug retailing and still persists in this channel. But there is good news here too. Several national drug retailers have radically redefined even this approach, in just the last couple years.

Which brings us back to Ahold USA, and its retail stores, Stop & Shop and Giant. As a European retailer, where private brand products have always had a very significant role, they have long understood the need to offer shoppers brands with quality, variety and personal relevance . . . at all price points.

Most recently this has meant the repositioning of Guaranteed Value. Ahold’s brand that offers, “everyday products you need at prices you want”, with over 200 SKUs in the line. With this redesign we created a budget brand without the sense of tedium that is so often seen at other retailers. It is a design system that is simple to implement, efficient to produce, easy to identify at retail, and most importantly has created a brand equity with a bright and energetic personality that reflects the simple premise of the brand.

Neither Me One! or Me Too!


About Richard Shear

designer, husband, teacher, blogger, father, athlete, author, historian Richard has over 25 years of brand identity and package design experience, with a wide range of clients such as Ahold, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Pernod Ricard and Procter & Gamble. He began his career working with the legendary advertising art director, and AIGA Medalist, George Lois and the British design manager Clive Chajet. In his next design management position at Lippincott & Margulies, he worked with Walter Margulies learning the complex skills of global corporate identity. He then became Creative Director and Partner at Peterson & Blyth, one of the premier brand identity and package design firms of the time. He is a founding faculty member of the Masters in Branding Program at New York’s School of Visual Arts. He publishes the blog The Package Unseen, and has been a guest lecturer at colleges including FIT, Trinity College and Tyler School of Art. He is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Richard is a Board member of the AIGA MetroNorth Chapter, past President of AIGA‘s Brand Design Association, President of the Package Design Council and a member of its Board of Directors. He is a member of USA Cycling and US Rowing, a nationally ranked masters bicycle racer, and a member of The Saugatuck Rowing Club, the 2010 Masters Club National Champion.
This entry was posted in Design Criticism, Design Practice, Food, Private Brands and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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