Mole Valley Farmers
A Country Dogs Tale
“We wanted to revolutionise our own label packaging dog food to really stand out in the marketplace. Chalk + Ward delivered on all levels by developing a creative solution that supported our vision for the product. Their input both strategically and creatively was invaluable to the success of this project”.
40 years of know-how
Mole Valley Farmers are big players when it comes to the working dog food market. For over 40 years they’ve been feeding our four-legged workers with their own label dog food diets. Their packaging has evolved during this time, but the packs were having to compete hard for standout against the creative advances of the big brand names. We were briefed to develop and extend their product designs to differentiate their packaging in what is a highly competitive market.
Country born and bred
Before we touched any pack designs, we proposed developing a name for their dog food range to help elevate their offering. After much debate and discussion Country Dog was born, a name we felt was unique to the brand and one which reflected their company ethos of “it’s a way of life”. We needed Country Dog to offer lifetime value, so the next step was to develop a cost/benefit product range hierarchy, the challenge here was to create a range that sat together as a family of products within a Good, Better, Best price strategy and offered diets to cover all life stages.
We had to be mindful that although a key requirement was to revolutionise the packaging, that we also maintained equity from the old packaging so careful consideration was needed. Country Dog also required a creative concept which clearly communicated this was a range for working dogs and the design had to engage with the consumer by highlighting the benefits and ingredients which set this dog food apart from the rest.
Evolution to revolution
To challenge the client and to consider ways of future proofing the packaging our creative concepts ranged from evolutionary to revolutionary. This approach encouraged healthy discussion and debate on how best to take the designs forward and the rationale behind the decision making.
Our evolutionary designs maintained the brand equity by working with a series of functional, creative options, each with varying links back to the original packaging and used both illustrative and textural imagery to bring the Country Dog concept alive. These were well considered but safe options!
Whereas our revolutionary concepts gave us much more scope to be creative, allowing us to utilise photography, textures, and various finishes, including metallics and spot varnishes to create impact. It was also a fundamental part of the brief to design something different to stand out on the shelf and compete with the well-known branded dog foods. The client chose to be brave and ran with the most revolutionary option!
Our concept idea set out to create a design that was both visually striking and captured the essence of a real Country Dog – the pack itself became the dog and as working dogs, they needed to be muddy, so the brand was locked up into a worn, muddy dog tag. Careful consideration was taken to ensure some brand equity was retained by utilising the original pack colours heavily on the penny stack and back. This left field approach was hugely popular with the client, however, as this was such an important decision given the potential departure from the old design, the proposed concepts went through market research. The conceptual left field option proved to be a massively popular choice, and as a result, became our chosen concept.
At the development stage we adapted the concept across different packaging sizes and shapes. Careful consideration was taken in choosing the right dogs for every pack, each having to reflect both the diet and be a working dog. We created bag mock-ups at various stages, developed brand extensions and designed a supporting treats range. We saw the project through to completion with press passes in Southampton, Swansea and even a four-day trip to Poland to ensure our designs were accurately produced!
Since its launch, Country Dog has exceeded all client expectations and has become one of Mole Valley Farmer’s best performing own label retail products. It is a project we’re very proud to have been involved in and it’s great to see how our designs came alive on-shelf! Country Dog Premium varieties are available in 2kg packs – a perfect trial size for your best friend to sample.
Find out more about Country Dog.