Family-owned, Ohio-based Blackwood Pet Food saw such success with the packaging system Minneapolis design consultancy Ideas that Kick ( created for their flagship brand two years ago that the pet food makers are now banking on great design to grow their business once again.

Blackwood recently tasked Kick with re-packaging two of their legacy brands, in hopes of extending their retail footprint and gaining new market traction. Kick’s new packaging system concepts for the Adirondack and Makin’ Trax brands inspired Blackwood to rethink how they introduce all of their brands to retail partners.

Concepts for both brands were designed to appeal to owners who value “outside” time with their pets and appreciate the quality of a food made in the USA. Kick updated both brands with bold new visuals and messaging. The Adirondack packaging system utilizes beautiful nature photography and bright colors to differentiate recipes and to tell a story targeted at adventure-seeking pet owners, while the packaging system for Makin’ Trax targets hunters and their families.      

“The client’s previous packaging for Adirondack and Makin’ Trax lacked brand equity,” explains Kick brand strategist Mary Kemp. “We delivered lifestyle concepts that will stand out on shelves because they tell real, relevant stories that haven’t been over-told in pet retail.”

“Pet owners know authentic when they see it,” adds Kick creative director Stefan Hartung. “Our creative concepts for Adirondack and Makin’ Trax speak authentically about how many consumers spend time with their pets.. Most mass pet food packaging uses appetite appeal — targeting pet owners — to sell substandard product. Anybody who knows about dog food knows that human appetite appeal isn’t what matters. But we all enjoy adventures with our pets. And American-made quality is key in the pet food category.”

“We knew that Kick would deliver great designs,” says Matt Golladay, Blackwood Pet Food vice president. “We had no way of anticipating they would have us re-visioning how we looked at these brands that have been in our portfolio for years. Now we’re able to approach retailers with a tiered offering of premium pet food brands — and we can already tell that retailers are just as excited as we are.”