A Pop of Private Brand Color – Pams

\"PamsPams is all about good value, quality products with great Private Brand packaging – it’s no wonder they have built a loyal following to be New Zealand’s largest grocery brand.

Designed by Brother Design Ltd, the brand new Pams Lite Dressings are a must-have for summer salads, and are unmissable on shelf. The bright lids deliver a pop of color to the category, and the beautifully styled food photography compliments the quirky typography.


Christopher Durham

MPB Founder to Speak At Dieline Conference

\"TheAs I look to speaking next week at The How Conference\\Dieline Conference check out the coverage on presentation on the most visited website on package design in the world The Dieline, not once but twice. The first time in a feature story on the release of my new book Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and the second in a Q&A that introduces my upcoming presentation at their groundbreaking package design event The Dieline Conference. The conference is an influential and exciting part of the annual HOW Design Live which will be held May 12 – 16 in Boston. I will see you in Boston

Below is an excerpt from The Dieline article.

The Private Brand Revolution Revealed: Fifty2, The My Private Brand Project

Christopher Durham, Founder of My Private Brand, will be presenting The Private Brand Revolution Revealed: Fifty2, The My Private Brand Project at The Dieline Conference on Thursday, May 15, 2014.

Durham will present a challenging look at the state of Private Brands through his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. The 52 brands featured in the book radically destroy the notion that all American private brands are ugly knock-offs of national brands and clearly paints a picture of the retail brand revolution that is creating retail-owned brands customers know and love.

We asked Christopher a few questions about his careers and inspirations.

How did you begin your career?
That goes back a few years, but I started out running the Computer Services department (Desktop Publishing in its heyday) in a Kinko’s in Charleston, SC. It was a great incubator for small business and design so I worked on lots of cool projects: the early American Apparel photocopied catalogs, Album covers for the band Jump Little Children, and more resumes and wedding programs than I care to remember.

It was a great basis for a long and winding career that then took me to Atlanta, where I free-lanced for a number of agencies, then to a daily newspaper in Greenville, SC where I managed their special sections, then to a crazy startup where I was the Art Director for a company that wrapped fleets of vehicles with advertisements for AT&T, Verizon, Yahoo and Coke. From there I went to Food Lion in Salisbury, NC where I was the creative services manager\\brand manager and discovered Private Brands. This led to a position at Lowe’s Home Improvement creating and managing private brands. Eventually my eclectic mix of experiences in design, news, start-ups and retail led to the creation of my site My Private Brand and to my current role at Theory House as the Vice President of Retail Brands.

If there is one lesson you’ve learned in your entire career, what was it?
Early in my career, I worked for The Greenville News in Greenville, SC. It was the very end of an era in the newspaper business and there was still a tinge of the Mad Men mystique – cigarette breaks, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporters and an occasional cigar and bourbon on a Friday afternoon. One grizzled newspaper veteran took me under his wing and shared his motto with me, “It’s all about the story and anything (design, photography, verbosity) that gets in the way of the story is unnecessary.” His ruthless editing and insight became a valuable tool in every part of my career.

Read the entire article.





Smart & Final “Our Brands,Your Pics” Contest

\"SmartCommerce, California based grocer Smart & Final has introduced a new Private Brand promotion on it’s website and Facebook page. The “Our Brands, Your Pics” contest, invites consumers to take photos of Private Brand products for the chance to win gift cards.

To enter, consumers must snap a picture of their favorite Smart & Final exclusive brand product — with the Ambiance, First Street or La Romanella Private Brand prominently displayed in the photo. Entrants may then submit their photos to the Smart & Final Facebook page.

Photos may be submitted March 5 through April 1, 2014. Customers may vote March 19 through April1, 2014. One grand-prize winner will receive a $1,000 Smart & Final gift card, while 10 others each will receive a $200 Smart & Final gift card. Winning photos could be used in stores and on the retailer’s website.


Christopher Durham

Global Retail Brands Interviews Christopher Durham

\"GlobalThe following interview that appeared in Global Retail Brands Magazine this past month

The Fifty2 Best Private Brands in the U.S.: Christopher Durham Discusses His New Book


Private brand authority and consultant, Christopher Durham, author of the popular industry website, My Private Brand, is a regular contributor to Global Retail Brands.

His first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project is a combination of serious packaging eye candy (Teri Campbell is a genius with a camera), and a perceptive view of the brands, their history, packaging and strategy, it’s a great read for anyone in private brand. I sat down with Durham recently to discuss his upcoming book and what he sees on the horizon for retailer owned brands.

GRB: You spent the last year working on Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. What led to the creation of the book?

CD: The idea for the book came after a conversation with a retailer at a conference. He believed private label in America was all the same: simply a value play wrapped in bad design. I found the statement disturbing and realized it honestly wasn’t true. So I set out to create a year-long blog project and corresponding book celebrating the 52 best retailer-owned brands.

My goal for both the book and My Private Brand is to ultimately raise the bar for retailers and change the conversation about private labels to a conversation about Brands.

Working with photographer Teri Campbell of Teri Studios, we’ve created a book that presents these brands, their packaging and products in a unique and compelling way that rethinks not only traditional packaging photography but also traditional private label. It’s my hope this book will redefine not only the perception of private brand in America, but also its potential.

GRB: What points did you consider when choosing the brands?
CD: Over the course of the year I reviewed more than 650 brands from 150 different retailers. I searched for what I believe are the very best examples of retail owned brands.

Brands that bring their positioning and business objectives to life through great design, purpose, lifestyle and innovation. I selected brands that are the original or best in class examples. Publix mid tier eponymous private brand is the epitome of a white-based mainstream design that fully reinforces the retailers overarching positioning – this excluded many brands that were either copycats or remarkably similar.

GRB: It would be easy to focus on the negative, the brands that aren’t doing anything right, yet you didn’t. Why not call all the worst Private Brand offenders out?

CD: It would certainly be easy to write a book about the preponderance of “old school” private labels with forgettable naming, bad design and strategies dependent on merchandising tactics, not consumer need. Most retailers in the U.S. continue to manage private brand portfolios that perpetuate generic, undifferentiated private label strategy.

However, after writing My Private Brand for the last five years, and working for, and with, some of the U.S.’ largest retailers, I know Private Brands done well are game changers — Craftsman at Sears, Tul at OfficeMax and Greenwise at Publix are just a few of the brands that have become assets for their respective retailers.

GRB: At the end of the day, which brand is your favorite?
CD: That’s a tough question. Can I pick two?

Bi-Rite Public Label from the small San Francisco-based grocer Bi-Rite Market. Their commitment to customer service and food is the driving force behind the private brand. With tongue firmly in cheek, they embraced the bad clichés of private label and created a brand with an ironic name. They’ve imbued it with a sense of purpose and brand positioning that redefines what a private brand can be by sharing where the food is from, who produced it and how it was made.

The retro-inspired brand design is restrained and uncluttered, creating a visual voice that reinforces the uniqueness of the brand and its products. Many of the products are made with produce from local farms, with recipes created in the market’s kitchen, some products are also made right there. It is everything a retailer owned brand should be.

The second is Blue Hawk. It’s a confident and authentic brand that exudes classic home improvement. The more than 1,700 products include handmade paint brushes with the iconic hawk stamped on the metal ferrule, classic leather work gloves, ropes and chains that epitomize the Brand’s strength, and hand and power tools that simply get the job done. The heroic and assertive brand design confidently defines a brand voice that combines a masculine aesthetic with utilitarian functionality.

GRB: Who do you think we should keep an eye on in 2014?
CD: I expect to see exciting changes from Tesco, Target, Kroger and Ace Hardware in 2014, as well as an across the board evolution of many of the major retail players’ private brand portfolios. Look for significant redesigns and repositionings of a number of the natural and organic brands as well as a continued expansion of premium and specialty brands

GRB: The book is based on a year-long blog project, will you be continuing the project in 2014?
CD: No, but Phil Russo of Global Retail Brands Magazine and I are excited to be producing the first of its kind international retail brand design competition, the Vertex Awards. Winners will be announced in March and we will be publishing a corresponding book celebrating the winners in the summer of 2014.

GRB: What are you looking forward to professionally this year?
CD: In February, I’m joining the brand consultancy and retail marketing agency, Theory House, as Vice President of Retail Brands. It’s a great opportunity to combine the insights, trends and thought leadership that I created at My Private Brand with a world-class agency. Together we’ll help retailers develop and grow their most underutilized assets — their private brand portfolio.

GRB: You recently wrote an in-depth report on Walmart’s private brand portfolio. Do you have another report in the works?
CD: In 2014 you can expect to see a lot of new and exciting things from both My Private Brand and Theory House. In the spring we’ll release a first of its kind report on Private Brands. It’s a large-scale quantitative study on natural and organic private brands owned by America’s largest retailers. Among other things, we’ll measure top of mind awareness, purchase intent, recognition, affinity and connectivity with the retail brand owner.


Christopher Durham

Warm Weather…Hotter Ideas, Exciting Changes!

\"CDURHAMMany of you have noticed — and asked about — several references to exciting announcements coming this year and I am pleased to finally reveal the first of them. After an exciting two years of Private Brand consulting with some of the world’s largest retailers, I’m happy to announce I am joining the retail marketing and brand development agency, Theory House, as Vice President of Retail Brands.

I am excited to join the Theory House team. Over the last ten years, I have worked with Theory House as both a strategic partner and as a client on numerous projects with fantastic success. They have a true vision for the future of retail and share my belief that Private Brands are retailers’ most underutilized asset. Together we will provide world-class strategy and intelligent design to build differentiated and profitable retail brands.

Personally, this means my family and I are leaving the arctic winter of Omaha, Nebraska to return to the milder southern climate of Charlotte, NC, and home of Theory House.

As far as My Private Brand is concerned, I’m not going anywhere. I will continue to oversee the site ensuring it remains the independent thought leader for Private Brand trends, insights and news. My Private Brand will continue to challenge retailers to transform their traditional private labels into consumer-focused strategic brand portfolios.

To learn more about Theory House, feel free to reach out to me at