Michael Stewart part of Cost cutting exercise

Office stationery reseller Advantia Business Solutions has decided to draw a line under the ‘downmarket’ image of its own-brand Cost, with new-look packaging by Michael Stewart Design.

A top-five player in the UK’s £6bn office supplies industry, Advantia plans to market its in-house stationery range as a brand in its own right. Announcing the move this week, marketing director Karen Nicholls says, ‘In future we will treat our own brand as a brand. Previously, there was no strong marketing message for it.’

Packaging for the paper-to-glue sticks range, now to be known as Advantia, has been spruced up with a premium-style image, says Michael Stewart design director and project head Andrew Sheerin.

The brand’s original blue and orange livery, which resembled a ‘budget range’, has been replaced with a cleaner blue, black and white palette, incorporating the curves of the existing Advantia marque.

‘The new look is more upmarket,’ says Sheerin. ‘Previously, a Cost pad was seen as an embarrassment. You’d never walk into an important meeting with one.’

The project, worth £30 000 to Michael Stewart, was secured on the back of a three-way creative pitch in March. Customers will not see evidence of the work until December, when Advantia’s 2004 catalogue is launched.

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