Without a doubt, every brand in any consumer packaged goods category has it tough: limited space to tell the story on its packaging, mere seconds to appeal to consumers and unfavorable shelf positioning are just three hurdles companies have to overcome. We all know there are many other obstacles — after all, our industry wouldn’t have an entire magazine devoted to branding through packaging if conveying your brand and connecting with customers were easy.

And while it is still no walk in the park, it isn’t a bad time to be a new brand at shelf if introduced correctly. Millennials, health trends and omni-channel retailing are all contributing to an eager consumer attitude of seeking out new and different products that suit specific lifestyles.

The million-dollar question, then: How do you introduce a brand well? BRANDPACKAGING talks with chief marketing officer Russ Pritchard and chief brand officer Marcelle Askew to see how SprinJene is introducing its new toothpaste made with a very old ingredient. 

BRANDPACKAGING (BP): Russ, give a short background on SprinJene.

Russ Pritchard (RP): SprinJene was founded in 2012 by a scientist with a PhD in organic chemistry, who has several decades of experience working in a senior R&D position with a prominent toothpaste manufacturer. SprinJene was formed out of his desire to bring a better product to the consumer. The initial formula was optimized for several years before settling on a finished product. “SprinJene” is derived from the Dutch word “springen,” meaning to burst forth. Our name conveys the passion and the excitement behind the brand, and this theme is carried through into our packaging.

BP: The toothpaste is gluten-free, vegan,  kosher and halal. Tell us about the intended SprinJene buyer.

RP: SprinJene is for the educated consumer who seeks out products they put in their body with care and strategy. All four of those certifications illustrate how seriously we take quality and purity; we can trace every ingredient back to its source. They also reflect one of our core values, diversity, by respecting religious and lifestyle choices. 

BP: Let’s go back to the introductory reference of an old ingredient — how is the brand and toothpaste meaningful different from competitors?

MARCELLE ASKEW (MA): SprinJene thinks everyone deserves a happy and healthy mouth. That’s why we’ve designed a premium, handcrafted toothpaste that leverages carefully selected natural ingredients to provide safer, gentler oral care for everyone. 

It might well be the most meticulously handcrafted toothpaste ever developed. Here’s why: Instead of harsh abrasives that erode enamel, SprinJene uses micropearls of fine silica to gently and safely clean and whiten teeth. We use zinc to naturally inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes gum disease — again, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals.

There’s more. We hand-pick high-quality, natural flavors and use no artificial preservatives. And we utilize pharmaceutical-grade water, created by de-ionized reverse osmosis, to ensure purity and quality.

Here’s something truly unique: Only SprinJene taps into the natural power of black seed oil, known for its health benefits for over 3,000 years.

While black seed oil is fairly new to shelves in the U.S. personal care section, the black seed — a plant from the Ranunculaceae (buttercup) family — has been prized for its healing properties and used as a natural remedy to treat disease since the time of the ancient Egyptians. Tutankhamen even had a bottle in his tomb! Its medicinal legacy continued with ancient Greeks and Romans and has persevered; the black seed is known throughout the Middle East today as “Baraka,” or the blessed seed.

SprinJene is a premium, total care, fluoride toothpaste that helps fight cavities, prevent plaque buildup and gum disease, repair enamel, and also whiten teeth and freshen breath, so you can enjoy a clean, healthy mouth.

BP: As a new brand, what is the goal for the product packaging?

MA: Beyond the utilitarian, the purpose of packaging is to communicate what SprinJene stands for and what it can do for our customers. As a startup in a competitive market, we can’t afford to miss the opportunity packaging offers to create a lasting impression — both in the store and in the minds of our customers.

Packaging is the point of contact with consumers — differentiation, easy brand recognition, impression (of quality, we hope), opportunity to present ourselves and inform about our toothpaste. If we’re saying the toothpaste is high quality, different and exciting — then the packaging better be too.

We know shelf space is hard to come by, so we are launching with two-piece display units that can be adapted for floor use or hung on standard power wing racks. This allows us to reinforce our brand message and makes our packaging more visible to the consumer.

BP: Tell us about the elements of the packaging design and structure.

RP: To make our packaging stand out, we chose a high-quality carton (technically, a substrate of virgin fiber laminated with a custom film) further combined with three additional custom holographs that together form the SprinJene “burst” on three different panels of our packaging. We’ve also embossed both our brand name and the decorative nurdle (swoosh of toothpaste). Our metallic colors — green, silver and white — also differentiate us and give the package a luxury feel.

BP: Why go with those materials and art elements?

RP: The oral care industry is filled with products in metallic and holographic packaging. To visually stand out to consumers and convey what SprinJene stands for and what it can do for our customers, we went with high-quality packaging — luxury packaging with unique color patterns and bold ellipses that bear our brand name with a holographic burst of rays behind it, again, referencing the etymology of “springen.”

The embossing further adds a look and feel of quality, reinforcing our message of “premium toothpaste” to the consumer. The quality and hand-selection of our packaging fits well with the hand-picked, high-quality ingredients in our toothpaste.

BP: Were there challenges in creating the design or choosing the packages? What were the resolutions?

MA: Custom holography requires extraordinary precision (tolerances for movement are 3/32nds of an inch). We wound up having to make last-minute adjustments to the margins around the holograph so that we’d be sure to get it right on the package each time.

Late in the design phase, and after many mockups, consumer focus groups convinced us to change the shape of the toothpaste tube to a wider and shorter tube that stands easily on its head. This resulted in a shorter, wider box and a reworking of the design. An embossed area adjacent to a fold (score line) made adjusting the box even more of a challenge.

The holographic burst also required a last-minute change in ink color so type would stand out. It was a constant challenge to be on the cutting edge of creativity and remain compliant with FDA requirements.

And at the very last minute, we changed the text color on our SprinJene White Boost box to all white.

BP: Thanks for talking us through what SprinJene is doing to launch successfully. Is there anything else you’d like to share regarding the new brand?

MA: We believe:

  • Handcrafted, premium toothpaste is worth getting passionate about. That’s why we carefully select pure, quality ingredients that work together to safely and thoroughly clean and whiten your teeth and protect your mouth.
  • Everyone deserves a healthy mouth. We want you to be able to enjoy the benefits of a gentle yet effective toothpaste regardless of your health, cultural, religious and dietary needs. That’s why our toothpaste is certified gluten-free, vegan, kosher and halal.
  • Premium toothpaste requires premium processes. That’s why we work closely with the finest labs in the world to test, optimize and retest our formulas. It’s why we pay great attention to detail, quality control and safety in all our processes, from sourcing to manufacturing.
  • Animals have rights too. That’s why we don’t use any animal products or ingredients that require animal testing.
  • We are stewards of our planet. That means we prioritize quality natural ingredients and sustainable manufacturing practices, and actively avoid using harsh chemicals that can harm both people and the environment.
  • Diversity is a strategic advantage.  Amazing ideas emerge when great minds from different backgrounds come together. That’s why we’re committed to diversity and a creative, open work environment that fosters new thinking and innovative solutions.

 SprinJene launches in stores and online in the immediate future. For further information, visit www.sprinjene.com