To make life easier and less messy for drivers who change their own oil, Valvoline Inc. has redesigned its 5-quart, retail motor oil packaging. The packaging design makes do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changes as quick, easy and clean as possible, with consumer-friendly features built into the bottle, closure, spout and labels.
A foil seal across the mouth of Valvoline’s Easy Pour Bottle incorporates a pull ring for easy removal, and an internal Anti-Glug Tube lets air into the bottle while pouring. The tube assures a smooth pour, and the package’s spout has been redesigned for precise pouring and clean cut-off. The bottle’s easy-to-grip, no-slip overcap has a threaded, snap-lock design for secure resealing.
Additionally, Valvoline has redesigned the product’s labeling system to make shopping easier. Product benefits and oil grade appear on the front label, and a comparison chart is on the back label. Color-coded bottles and spouts help shoppers quickly identify the product they need for a specific vehicle.
Michelle Allen, director of retail marketing at Valvoline, provides insight into the redesign of the package.
Who is the target customer for Valvoline’s Easy Pour Bottle? Does gender matter?
Allen: Our target consumer is the do-it yourselfer (DIYer) who likes to change his or her own oil but is desiring a more optimal pouring experience in the garage.
Do DIY oil changers, regardless of gender, value no-glug, mess-free pouring?
Allen: Yes. We tested with both males and females in focus groups, and the bottle was very well received by both genders. They put a tremendous amount of value on the cleaner, easier experience.
How much does the filled Easy Pour Bottle weigh?
Allen: The bottle weighs approximately 9.5 pounds.
What percentage of Valvoline’s sales are for this large package size? Why focus on the 5-quart size for packaging innovation?
Allen: The average crank case holds around five quarts, and more than 80% of Valvoline’s retail sales are in a 5-quart container, which is why Valvoline decided to innovate beyond formula and innovate its packaging.
Tell us about the consumer research and feedback that went into this package design. What research did Valvoline conduct, and what did the results show?
Allen: We tested multiple iterations of the bottle design in both quantitative and qualitative research to ensure we were launching a version that would meet consumers’ needs. The results showed that the redesign was worth the investment from Valvoline, to help differentiate our brand from the competition and provide a game-changing experience for consumers.
Why do you need an easy-grip/no-slip feature on the overcap, if this package delivers mess-free pouring?
Allen: Changing your oil can be a messy job from start to finish. Pouring oil is only part of the process, and beforehand, it is very likely that consumers’ hands will be messy after draining the oil prior to replacing with new oil. This no-slip overcap that locks back into place is intended to be one more added benefit to the experience and to eliminate one of the pain points in the process.
Was it difficult to develop the anti-glug feature?
Allen: The anti-glug functionality was not an easy task, as we were trying to maintain our existing footprint to not cause a pain point for retailers. We went through multiple design iterations to get the perfect pour.
Did your packaging suppliers contribute to the redesign?
Allen: We partnered with suppliers that were subject matter experts and could bring this expertise to the table to design an innovative new bottle alongside Valvoline, delivering a value-added experience for consumers.
The spouts are color-coded for the product. Isn’t it expensive to have different stock-keeping units for the spouts?
Allen: Color is an important element for consumers to understand that there is a formula/flavor change occurring across our portfolio. We approached the color-coded shrouds (spouts) similarly to our cap approach in our old bottle, to help consumers shop the category. For example, red has been an important color to indicate a high-mileage product within our product line.
Tell us more about the new, simplified label design. Was this done in-house, or did Valvoline work with a design firm?
Allen: We partnered with an agency to develop the new, simplified label to help consumers shop our portfolio. We tested multiple designs with thousands of consumers, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to net out on a label that improved shoppability in the category. Using these insights, we have optimized our approach on both front and back labels, which have been well received across the trade.
How are the packages color-coded?
Allen: The packages are color-coded by using colored shrouds and label accents to highlight product family. For example, red equals high mileage regardless of synthetic-blend or full-synthetic formula.
When did the new packaging launch into the market?
Allen: The new package rolled out across our major retailers in September 2017 in our synthetic line. The rest of the portfolio will be phasing into the market over the first half of 2018.
Where is it sold?
Allen: The package will be sold in all major [motor oil] retailers across the country—for example, Walmart, AutoZone, O’Reilly and Advance.
How has consumer response been so far?
Allen: It is still early in the rollout phase, and we are pushing out old inventory currently within the supply chain. Based on the consumer feedback we have gathered along the journey, we anticipate an extremely positive response in improving the experience of the DIYer.
Valvoline has quite a lot of information about the new packaging on its website. Why would consumers would be interested in so much detail?
Allen: The information was designed for consumers to go and learn more, because the website is our call to action on all our media executions and point-of-sale tactics. Many consumers will be curious to understand more around the innovation, and we want to give them more reasons to believe in choosing Valvoline over other branded competitors. We are excited to offer consumers a quality package that meets the quality that’s inside the bottle, and the website is designed to reinforce this point.
A magic kingdom of packaging solutions: For packaging engineers, executives and designers—WestPack 2018 (Feb. 6-8; Anaheim, CA) delivers leading technologies, free educational presentations, hands-on demonstrations, exceptional networking opportunities and expert-led Innovation Tours. Register now!