How Playtex is using design to woo buyers in the sippy cup market

Jack Neff
ADVERTISING AGE

Published: March 24, 2014 10:11 am ET
Updated: March 24, 2014 10:17 am ET

Image By: Playtex Products LLC Industrial design group 4sight Inc. helped create a new line to set apart Playtex Products' sippy cups in a crowded market.

Related to this story

Topics Consumer Products, Design

When Playtex Products LLC set out to reinvent the sippy cup, it learned small things in life can make big differences.

The cups placate cranky toddlers in restaurants and are part of the social glue of the play group. When they're poorly designed or hastily reassembled, spills and other bad things happen. And while sippy cups may be one of the more important purchases parents make from a quality-of-toddler-life standpoint, they seem too inconsequential for parents to bother researching online before buying.

Hence, when 4sight Inc., the New York-based design firm behind the makeover, began its deep dive into sippy-cup anthropology, one of the "ah ha" moments was when moms would open up a drawer that was really a window into their secret shame.

"The drawer would have a hundred pieces of sippy cups, and they didn't even remember what they went to," said 4sight President Stuart Leslie. "There were caps and cups and valves and all these things. They would have this look like they were almost embarrassed."

Moms used only a small fraction of those sippy-cup parts. Dads, according to the moms, knew even less about them or how to assemble them properly, Mr. Leslie said. And the moms said the surplus parts were a result of bad purchase decisions combined with reluctance to admit defeat.

"Moms told us that they find the aisle difficult to shop, filled with many cup options offering a plethora of different colors, sizes, shapes, drinking features and benefits that don't provide clues as to why or when each should be used," said Nick Senter, associate business-global infant-care marketing at Playtex owner Energizer Holdings.

The stakes are high. Playtex of New Providence, N.J., recently ceded leadership in the $687 million infant nursing/feeding accessories segment to Munchkin, when its sales slid 10 percent to $92.5 million for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 26, according to IRI.

While some moms wanted cups organized by the types of liquid they hold, 4sight qualitative research and Playtex quantitative research with simulated shopping experiences showed more moms wanted them organized by "usage occasion." The four identified, which became names of the product lineup prominently highlighted on packaging, include:

• TrainingTime, contoured for little hands with removable handles for when little ones advance.

• AnyTime, designed to promote independent drinking skills, be spill proof and easy to hold, and help foster transition to regular cups.

• PlayTime, a double-walled cup designed for easy manufacturing with a wide variety of licensed characters, which helps prevent accidental sharing in play groups.

• TravelTime, tall, easy to grasp and meant to look like adult travel mugs.

Various lid options with and without spouts are available and completely interchangeable to minimize the waste of the sippy-cup drawer.

Playtex also has replaced the frequently leaky screw cap with what it says is a leak-proof Twist n' Click "bayonet style" connection that goes together the way lenses go on cameras (or bayonets go on guns). The toddler of the 21st century will be well armed to face the future of liquid refreshment.


Comments

How Playtex is using design to woo buyers in the sippy cup market

Jack Neff
ADVERTISING AGE

Published: March 24, 2014 10:11 am ET
Updated: March 24, 2014 10:17 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Shipping slowdowns add to season's stress

December 16, 2014 4:02 pm ET

Toy companies know what they want for Christmas: an end to crippling shipping delays at West Coast ports.    More

Image

Ecover's Ocean Bottle wins another award

December 10, 2014 9:23 am ET

The bottle is made from ocean and other plastic waste.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events