Monday, June 23, 2008

a method to marketing

I've gotten some requests for information on the marketing side of method! (Including what font method uses - it's Avenir, by the way!) And being that I'm in the graphic design biz, I also get intrigued by the "behind the scenes" stuff! So check out this article on method's marketing, from over on Dynamic Graphics:

A Method to Marketing
Thanks to a cutting-edge palette and packaging,
Method is cleaning up in home care goods.
by Rodney J. Moore

Method enlisted Karim Rashid to help design product packaging that would “disrupt” the marketplace. He wound up opening doors for their entry into Target. His handwash package design (top) turned the personal care category on its head. “The graphic way that we treated these distinct product shapes [helps them] really stick in your head,” says Tim Roper of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Five years ago, Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry decided on a course of action that was not unlike David taking on Goliath. Their company Method, which offers household products ranging from hand soap to floor care, would take on the giants of the industry. Turns out it hasn’t been a fair fight.

When Method launched, cleaning products was one of the most stagnant and conventional categories around. Now, thanks to partnerships with Karim Rashid for packaging designs and Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) for marketing, Method has found a welcome niche for the forward-thinking and forwardlooking product line.

What makes Method so unique is their philosophy. In a phrase, their mantra is “be disruptive.” The first thing you notice about Method products is the packaging design. After an initial launch in the San Francisco area, Ryan and Lowry courted Karim Rashid to help get their products noticed on a national scale. Method’s partnership with Rashid would open the door for their entry into national distribution via stores like Target.

When it came time for their first full-scale marketing effort in 2004, Method teamed up with Miami-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky for a campaign to raise brand awareness and get products in consumers’ hands. With a budget that might be an accounting error to the likes of Procter & Gamble or Unilever, Method had to find a creative way to be effective. From the many ideas CP+B pitched, Method decided on an 18-page booklet insert that would explain their philosophy and offer starter kits for sale. Oh, and naturally it would feature on the cover a naked man cleaning house. Is that disruptive enough for you?

“Those original Karim Rashid [packaging] designs were very inspirational for us,” says Tim Roper, CP+B executive vice president and creative director. “We immediately saw a company that wants to take some risks.”

Continuing with the disruptive theme, the booklet’s small size and title —“People Against Dirty”— stood out in the publications (such as Real Simple) in which it appeared. Suffice it to say, this is one booklet that got noticed. And thanks to the starter kit offers, Method had a way of measuring its effectiveness. “It’s a pretty good device for getting direct feedback from people who have seen the booklets,” says Roper. “I must say in all my years of advertising, we probably had a more positive wave of overwhelming response on this first book than anything I’ve ever worked on.”

While Method was pleased with the overall campaign effort, they never dreamed that the booklet would become something with pass-along value.

Method’s “People Against Dirty” booklet was the first real marketing piece of the young brand, so it had to make a big splash on a limited budget. “I think it’s just fun and approachable,” says Roper “It’s not like work to read through this thing. It’s pretty breezy. And there’s a lot of pass-along with these books: Women give them to friends and cohorts, and they may get a giggle out of one spread or another.” Method was pleasantly surprised by the pass-along value of the booklets. “The viral aspect of the booklet was much greater than what we had anticipated,” says Sangita Forth, pod director at Method.

“One of the reasons why it seemed to work in this case as a booklet is because Method had a unique story to tell, and they were doing it for the first time,” says Mason Reed, management supervisor at CP+B. “I think those two things combined gave it a depth and richness that needed to be told, and the longer format allowed for that. And their brand itself has a lot of different dimensions: It has a fragrance story, a social responsibility story, and a design aesthetic across the board. When you are new and don’t have the dollars to put this in all of the different places you would want, [the booklet] allowed us to tell a deeper, richer story in one place.”

The idea of using colors as your palette that complement a pink grapefruit, or a cucumber, or lavender, or eucalyptus mint is very intentional and purposeful,” says Roper. Background color for the the pink grapefruit execution was C0 M45 Y40 K0. Fonts maintaining the cool, clean tone in the booklets and website are Avenir Black, Avenir Roman, and Recycle.

In addition to the booklet, CP+B launched a website that was equally disruptive and popular. The site,, served as an online confessional for folks who felt compelled to “come clean.” Only an unobtrusive icon near the top of the web pages served as a link to Method’s product information.

So successful was their initial People Against Dirty booklet that Method published another booklet insert in 2005. In 2006, Method printed a third booklet focusing on their laundry line of products. The next step in the Method story (has been) a more traditional print campaign."


steve parker said...

i love method's marketing strategy. it's so fresh and enjoyable. it makes me want to run out and buy method the moment i see it. (of course, i adopted method before ever seeing one shred of advertising, so maybe my opinion doesn't count!)

my favorite quote from this article: "Oh, and naturally it would feature on the cover a naked man cleaning house." method doesn't do risque often, but they do it well.

Nathan Aaron said...

I've just always found people's mentality that "naked man" = risque to be hysterical. Nobody ever comments on "naked woman." LOL That's the true gay agenda! To get more naked men in advertising, and movie making! Yes! Ha ha.

Nate said...

Thanks for the info about the font! I was working on a project for my advertising class and chose to use Method.

Nathan Aaron said...

Hey Nate, I hope you got the font info in time for your project! I'd love to see what you're doing, if you ever want to share! Thanks!

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