Morrisons Debuts Colorful New Brand

Over the last few years Value/Basic Private Brands have been all the rage, with white-based package design all the rage as well. Whether it was in the elegant A&P organic brand Greenway, the rather pedestrian NBE design of Walmarts Great Value or the better than expected Value/Basic brand from CVS – Just the Basics, white has been everywhere. Unfortunately it has often seemed more trendy and reactionary than a strategic choice. The most recent version of white based package design comes from the English retailer Morrisons who have created a playful and dare I say interesting version of the now clichéd trend.

Brand design agency Coley Porter Bell has rebranded Morrisons’ entry-level ‘value’ brand as part of the retailer’s strategic overhaul of its Private Brand portfolio. The rebrand is part of the biggest design brief in the UK this year. The aim is to strengthen the Morrisons brand and increase the share of its Private Brands bought by customers by transforming Morrisons’ own label into a coherent brand. The redesign will roll out over the next 18 months.

The ‘Morrisons Value’ line has been predictably renamed ‘M Savers’ to reflect its consumer benefit. The new designs express the Morrisons brand with a charcoal grey roundel bearing the letter M in white.

This core logo is accompanied by hand-crafted illustrations of product silhouettes and shapes in a naivist style. Backgrounds are all white but the illustrations are in a range of bright foody colors.

Within the illustrations, simple product descriptors are written in a bespoke type-face created by senior Coley Porter Bell designer Craig Barnes.

So far 350 skus have been redesigned. The new designs and branding will be rolled out to cover the entire range a within the next 2 months.

Stephen Bell, creative director of Coley Porter Bell, said the redesign aims to inject real brand values into Morrisons’ entry level products. “This is value for the times we live in. Value ranges tend to be somewhat utilitarian, using template designs and basic corporate colors. Research shows that consumers are often ashamed to be seen with them. But with the economy stalled for the foreseeable future, value ranges will be competing on more than just price. We wondered why shouldn’t entry level products have some charm and engagement?”

He said that the new designs reflect a change in Morrisons’ entire brand architecture. “Morrisons’ new positioning is all about food culture and a human touch. These designs, which look handcrafted and quirky, contribute to the feeling that even Morrisons’ most humble products have been cared for by people. We’d like people to raise a little smile when they see these designs.

Carol Turner Head of Design for Morrisons said that the changes were not simply cosmetic. ‘Our ambition is to be the brand worth crossing the road for and for the M Savers range the best quality possible at an affordable price. We’ve upped quality and altered the range based on genuine customer feedback through brand panels and now we are injecting real personality into our products through design too. These designs are engaging and completely unique.”

Previous articlePB CAREERS: Senior Manager Private Brands Quality (Consumables \ OTC)
Next articleFresh & Easy Expands “Better for You” Private Brands
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.