Decoding Clean For Nutro's Global Refresh

by Chloe Gordon on 05/11/2021 | 4 Minute Read

Clarkmcdowall has created the new packaging design for Nutro, a pioneer in the natural pet food space. The pet food brand established itself as the leading natural pet food recipe, and elegant packaging was needed to match the impactful mission of the brand. The white marbling of the bag paired with the bold yet fluid logo mark creates a clean and fresh aesthetic, especially compared to other brands on the shelf that typically use deeper and more intense colors and designs. Showcasing the ingredients through artfully crafted photography proves that the power of this brand is within its ingredients. Nutro is the natural choice for your pets just from the packaging alone.


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Powered by the philosophy of Feed Clean, Nutro was preparing to make the leap from specialty pet food to mass market. The question of brand awareness was top of mind: how could they boldly command attention in highly competitive shelf space? And how could they translate their philosophy to an audience who was skeptical about natural pet food?

We established an identity system that put their passion at the forefront: bountiful recipes and conscious ingredients. Working closely with both the Mars team and their partners, we manifested codes and cues across packaging and beyond, clearing a path for Nutro to become a category leader.

A pioneer in natural pet food, Nutro had established itself in the specialty category with its natural recipes and formulas, but they had yet to make a name for themselves in the mass market.

To grow would require educating consumers on who they were and what they stood for. Winning attention was the first step to becoming a category leader.

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A fragmented look and feel across US and global product lines amplified challenges. Nutro was searching for a way to perform better at shelf and prove its premium price tag was worth the spend. Facing competition from legacy brands with natural product lines as well as similar specialty brands backed by bigger marketing budgets, Nutro needed to define its point of differentiation and present itself in a way that was simple and impactful.

Before making changes to Nutro’s identity, we needed to understand if there were any current brand equities.

In our search, we discovered the Nutro letterforms were at the core of its DNA, so we knew we could lean into this asset. For the rest of the identity, we would look to the outside and assess cues in the human clean food world to see what could inspire our own.

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Through a semiotics review, we learned elements like real raw food, a crisp white marble background, and natural sun-lit lighting would appeal to our consumers and serve as shorthand visuals to communicate clean, natural food.

This inspired a palette that put bountiful ingredients at the core and began to establish an identity system that celebrated real food.

But the identity system would have to flex across five portfolio pillars and a spectrum of price points. So, we united masterbrand assets and design architecture with differentiated, distinct variations per pillar and tested our approach with consumers without showing packaging.

The result was a clean read on what each asset brought to the brand story and how they worked in unison while still clarifying distinct differences in each pillar.

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We tested again — this time with packaging — to hone in on navigation, findability, and shelf pop and realized the need for simplicity and clarity in the new mass retail environment.

To codify the new, simplified identity, we partnered with the Nutro team, a partner ad agency, and global shopper marketing teams to establish a playbook for creative executions across various media and touchpoints. An overall implicit trust from Nutro throughout the entire process enabled us to do our most impactful work.

A fresh identity system made the point of differentiation crystal clear: Nutro’s power was in its ingredients and purposeful pairings.

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