I love Original Source shower gel, especially the mint one. It packs a punch in terms of refreshment, and the packaging really leaps out at you. The brand has managed to stand out in a crowded market where other brands like Imperial Leather and Dove out-spend it.
1. Packed with good stuff
There's a simple but powerful truth at the heart of the brand which is also the brand's tagline: "Packed with natural stuff". Each product doesn't just have natural ingredients. It has LOADS of them. For my favourite mint and tea tree one, Original Source say "We've flexed all our muscles and crammed 7,927 real mint leaves into every bottle."
I like the way this brand idea manages to squeeze in a bit of attitude. They could have said "Full of only natural ingredients". But by saying "packed" and "good stuff", it feels a bit more in-your-face and irreverent.
2. Telling a product story
The brand and their agency, BDH/TBWA, have made clever use of communication. They lived out the brand idea by packing good stuff into little 10 second ads. Each one tells the story of a product. And used naked people in invigorating natural settings to stand out. Click below on the blog to watch one.
And hoo-bloody-ray for a brand who has stuck to the same idea to create some "memory structure". Six years on after the campaign, the brand's idea is still "Packed with good stuff".
And on a limited budget of only £1million, the campaign delivered good results. It helped the brand create a distinctive image on "intense refreshment", and increase awareness, as shown below.
3. Distinctive by design
I love the Original Source packaging. The graphics are bold. I like the product story on the pack. And somehow, they've managed to hang on to the distinctive pack shape. This means that even though own label have copied the graphics, as shown in JKR's blog here, the brand still looks distinctive.
The nicest surprise of researching this story was finding out that Original Source was bought by big company PZ Cussons back in 2002. This can be a recipe for disaster for a funky little company. But hats off to the Cussons team.
They have stayed loyal to the soul of the brand, but amplified it. Cussons actually introduced the more distinctive packaging, as you can see by the pack below from when they bought the brand.
They were also smart in focusing on driving penetration by reaching out to a wider audience, rather than focusing on existing "brand loyalists", through the use of cost effective TV advertising.
In conclusion, Original Source is a great example of what I think branding at its best is all about: a product story told with a personality of its own.