Fifty2, The MPB Project: United Oil – H2O Help to Others

UNITED FRONTFifty2 The MPB Project Logo“Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project,” will present a carefully curated look at the best Private Brands in the U.S. across all retail channels. The weekly series looks at each great Private Brand with insight, analysis and original photography. In early 2014, these will be published as my first book along with several new chapters that focus on strategy, packaging and design learnings from the included brands.

I am looking for retailer-owned private labels that are BRANDS – brands that bring their positioning and business purpose to life through great design, purpose, expertise, confidence, emotion, lifestyle and innovation.

To submit a brand for consideration please email

H2O Help to Others
In the spring of 2012, United Oil, a family-owned company, which operates approximately 125 gas stations and convenience stores in locations throughout Southern California introduced its very first Private Brand. The highly focused brand, H2O Help to Others bottled water, creates a daily opportunity for United customers to engage with the brand and help the retailer make a difference. With each bottle purchased, the retailer is donating 10¢ to local food banks to help people in the communities it serves.

The brand’s modern and engaging design brings to life United Oil’s annual “I Got It!” Makes Cents fundraising event. One weekend a year, United Oil donates money, usually 1¢ to 2¢ from every gallon of gas sold at all of its gas stations to a chosen charity. In 2012, United Oil wanted to keep the giving momentum going, and came up with the concept to launch a Private Brand bottled water that would generate donation dollars every day of the year.

United Oil has demonstrated that with great brand positioning and design retailers can leverage commodity products to create brands that make a difference.

United Oil - Help to Others 3

United Oil - Help to Others 1

United Oil - Help to Others 2

United Oil - Help to Others 4Brand:H2O Help to Others
Brand Focus:
National Brand Equivalent
United Oil
Gardena, California
2011 USA Retail Sales:
Private Company
2011 Stores:

To submit a brand for consideration please email

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Christopher Durham
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.