Building a Better Bullfrog

Eye-catching new bottles have increased this popular sunblock’s market share.

BullFrog holds a premiere spot in the sun protection marketplace. But the position wasn’t always so secure. The brand of popular sun block products enjoyed steady growth until about 2005, when sales began to flatten and its premiere ranking came at risk.
The culprit? Lack of continuity in the way the brand was communicating with consumers.
“Our packaging didn’t project a consistent identity across the line, and as a result the BullFrog brand didn’t have strong visibility,” says the company’s category manager Holly Sisson. “BullFrog Mosquito Coast with insect repellent, BullFrog Super Block at SPF 45, BullFrog for Kids and our other products each used a different color combination and different graphic elements. There wasn’t a single brand message.”
To upgrade and re-energize the brand’s package design and shelf presence, brand owner Chattem Inc. and the BullFrog marketing team looked to the creative services group of Silgan Plastics—a referral from the brand’s bottle distributor, Package Supply and Equipment Company.
BullFrog presented Silgan with a packaging brief that called for a more ergonomic shape; the addition of a no-slip grip to the bottle, creating a larger “billboard” for enhanced shelf presence; and a consistent color scheme across all packaging in the product line.
The marketing team also wanted the packaging to have a “water motif” to underscore the waterproof quality of its sunblock, an attribute consumers associate with BullFrog products.
“All of these elements were intended to build a more dynamic, consistent brand image,” says Todd Wright, marketing manager at Silgan Plastics.
On a more practical note, BullFrog also added a provision that a single bottle structure be used to package the entire product line, including both lotion and spray products.
The design process
To begin, the creative services team launched a competitive assessment of sun block products that had come to market globally in the previous two years.
From there, they developed 10 initial concepts that incorporated BullFrog’s packaging brief directives and insights gleaned from the results of their global competitive search. These two-dimensional graphic renderings were presented to the BullFrog marketing and production teams for feedback. Revised designs and further input were exchanged over a three-week period to narrow the direction of the package design work further.
At the point where 2-D renderings had gone as far as they could, the BullFrog marketing team was presented with three 3-D prototypes that they could hold, “play with” and view from all angles. It allowed them the hands-on experience to direct the changes that would result in the final package design, which, from initial packaging brief input to confirmation of the final concept, was achieved in about one month.
A new look …
The new BullFrog package features a broader body that includes a roomy label area and creates a larger “billboard” on the retail shelf. The bottle’s curved shape gives it a unique presence next to competitors’ bottles, differentiating the brand on shelf.
That shape also provides a secure grip for wet hands, making the product easier to use; the area where wet fingers will grip the bottle is further enhanced by a textured surface treatment.
… and a new feel: “frog skin”
BullFrog product packaging also sports a particularly “frog-like” shade of green across the line, which serves to deliver a consistent graphic look and to support the water motif the brand had requested in its brief.
The stippled texturing of the plastic, which offers enhanced utility, was also designed to suggest the idea of water droplets. But it also had an unplanned effect.  
“This surface treatment was a group effort,” says BullFrog’s Sisson. “The designers offered the option of larger or smaller stippling, and we chose the smaller size because it resembled water droplets … as well as frog skin.”
Where to go for more information...
Design solutions. At Silgan Plastics Creative Services, contact Stephen Kocis at 770.243.5280 or visit
Plastic containers. At Package Supply and Equipment Company, call 864.277.0900 or visit

Because sun care products are seasonal, the marketing process begins the summer before the new season begins, when new products are presented to retailers at trade shows. BullFrog’s new brand packaging made its debut to the trade in the summer of 2006, and was “very favorably” received. “We are already seeing retail growth at record levels for key accounts versus a year ago,” said BullFrog category manager Holly Sisson. “Keep in mind that our advertising is not yet on-air, so this growth clearly is largely attributable to our new packaging.”