Category innovation is on tap (once again) for this growing home and personal care company.



The story: In 2000, chemical engineer and climate scientist Adam Lowry joined forces with Eric Ryan, an account planner in advertising, to create a line of home care and personal care products that were non-toxic and made with naturally-derived, biodegradable ingredients. But they didn’t stop there. Instead, they made it their priority to “fight dirty” in a larger sense, including offsetting carbon emissions, designing products that meet Cradle-to-Cradle environmental designs standards, using natural materials and making bottles from 100 percent recycled plastic.

Today, Method is frequently cited as one of the fastest growing and most innovative companies with more than 100 different product SKUs in 35,000 retail locations throughout the US, Canada, UK, France and Australia.

The challenge: Launched nine years ago, the brand’s iconic dish soap developed a loyal following; but as much as people loved what was inside the bottle, they were often frustrated by the bottle itself. “Method has been offering a great dish soap that cleaned the dishes really well in a natural and biodegradable way, but what people were dissatisfied with was the entire category,” says Michelle Arnau, Method brand manger, cleaning business. “Upright, squeezable dish products intuitively don’t make sense, because your hands are slippery and wet when you are washing dishes,” she says. “And so to pick something up, [frequently] results in you dropping it.”

Method decided to take a step back, look at how people were doing their dishes and redesign its bottle accordingly.

The solution: Before designing any prototypes, Method conducted hours of in-home ethnography (watching people do dishes). After studying various dish-washing methods, the brand found that, whether they poured soap directly into a pot, on a dish or on a sponge, people were coming up with workarounds to make the process easier and more enjoyable.

“We realized that consumers wanted something different, but they didn’t know what,” Arnau says. “So we decided that this was the ideal time, instead of just bringing minor improvement to the old [tear drop-shaped] dish bottle, to come up with something that was truly breakthrough.”

The result is a new specialized pump that does not leak or clog. Inside the bottle, the dip tube is angled to the very bottom, enabling it to soak up all the liquid. The bottle is also ergonomically designed with a wider base and the pump is formed with a ridge at the top that prevents slippage.

In order to prevent product confusion, the brand made sure to have familiar visual cues on the product. The front of the bottle says, “Method Dish Soap,” and can still be found in the brand’s best-selling fragrance, cucumber. “Sometimes we like to get creative with our [product] names, but with this product in particular, because we were taking away a product that people did like, it was important that they had a great cue of, ‘Ok, this is the same great thing, just in a new package,’” Arnau says. 

Like most of Method’s products, the bottles are made of 100 percent recycled plastic, PET in this case. The bottle is also the brand’s first Cradle-to-Cradle certified product in the dish category, and the very first C-2-C dish soap in the world.

Theresults: The new packaging rolled out at the beginning of August, and while it’s early, the brand says it is excited about the preliminary sell-ins, as well as consumer and retailer feedback.

Package Design
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