CVS Debuts – Just the Basics

Christopher Durham Feb 2, 2011 3

This week as promised Woonsocket, RI based drug retailer CVS introduced its much-anticipated entry into Private Brand value/basics brands with the appearance at shelf of “Just the Basics” The brand name was initially registered with the USPTO August 4, 2010 with the following goods and services covered by the application: all-purpose cleaners; ammonia for cleaning purposes; antiperspirants and deodorants for personal use; anti-static dryer sheets; baby wipes; bar soap; body wash for personal use; cotton swabs for cosmetic purposes; dish detergents; facial cleansers; glass cleaners; hair gel and hair spray; hair shampoos and conditioners; hand soap; laundry detergent; mouthwash; pine cleaners for wood floors; shaving creams; skin moisturizer.

Official word came of the development and launch of the new brand on October 8, in New York when Mike Bloom, EVP merchandising and supply chain spoke to analysts during the retailer’s 2010 analyst meeting, He revealed several strategies aimed at growing the company’s $18 billion front-end business.

Among the strategies was the new Private Brand “Just the Basics” slated to be composed of more than 100 products.

“The first thing we did is we conducted customer focus groups where we identified the need for an opening price-point value brand. We then defined that the brand would consist of everyday essential products that would help get her through her day,” Bloom explained.

“Just the Basics” was designed and executed by Anthem Worldwide, a global brand strategy and strategic design agency.

Bloom also stated that CVS has intentionally chosen to separate their retail banner name from  “Just The Basics”. As a key part of defining CVS’ new portfolio of Private Brands, the company has positioned the CVS brand as a “healthcare expertise” brand; therefore products which do not support the positioning will move to existing or new brands in their evolving portfolio.

“Just the Basics” represents a modern next step for the retailer. The clean white packaging is both fresh and basic, leveraging the extreme value positioning of white-based packaging that Walmart’s Great Value has taught the American consumer while creating an approachable engaging brand that is not embarrassing to put in your basket. The large iconic “b” has the liberty to morph, serving as a color-coding and design device that simplifies the shopping experience. The product photography playfully integrates with the logo… popcorn and graham crackers weave themselves around the “b”. This seemingly simple logo device may be the revolutionary concept of 2011, giving other retailers the permission to use their Private Brand logos as something more than a static placeholder.

Nice work!

Just the Basics food products are included in this weeks 10/$10 mix and match promotion

Just the Basics alongside the CVS brand and the earth friendly brand Earth Essentials. Can a redesign of the CVS branded cleaner be far behind?


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Christopher Durham

Vice President of Retail Brands at Theory House

Christopher Durham is the founder of My Private Brand and the VP of retail brands at Theory House, the branding and retail marketing agency. He is a consultant, strategist and retailer with close to 20 years of real-world retail and corporate experience creating, launching and building billion dollar Private Brands.

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3 Comments »

  1. Phil Fitzell Feb 4, 2011 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Good job jumping right onto this latest CVS development, Chris. I plan to analyze this strategy soon in Exclusive Brands.

  2. Johnd396 Jun 9, 2014 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    It’ll also save a lot of cash and time for those on a restricted budget who aggbacbbekdf

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