CRS launches radical packs

Co-operative Retail Services is embarking on a radical relaunch of its own-label branded range, rolling out 2000 lines a year to its 450 Co-operative supermarkets and convenience stores.

The Co-operative’s approach flies in the face of many major supermarkets’ own-brand packaging, which is often guilty of copying the branded market leader.

The concept, created by lead roster group The Quite Extraordinary Design Partnership, is based on the strategy of thinking branded product rather than own-brand to achieve stand-out.

“We recognised that to become successful we had to differentiate,” says CRS design manager Christine Evans, who joined in 1997 to help turn around the supermarkets’ falling sales.

The pack designs pick up on the four-square grid identity created for the Co-operative by Wolff Olins (DW 9 May 1997). The washing-up liquid is the first pack to hit the shelves, with others, including the beer (right) at concept stage.

While some lines will feature the grid effect in a straightforward way, other renditions will be quirky and more subtle. “It’s a frame-work, not a straitjacket, making shopping a little bit of fun as well,” says QED partner Phil Strachan.

The Co-operative’s Lo-cost range will be redesigned in the future, says Evans. The packaging is part of a massive overhaul of the business, which includes new store design being worked on by two unnamed groups.

See News Analysis, page 7

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