Two of Pakistan’s most visible and iconic brands, one old the other relatively young, both from giant parent companies, and yeah, archrivals, recently refreshed their looks. Both of Pakistan’s premier packaged milk brands, Olper’s and Milkpak have launched new campaigns along with respective redesigned packages. The motivations and strategic goals behind the changes for both the brands are distinctly different, to which we will get to later in the article.

When we shared the two designs on our Facebook page and asked for our fans’ feedback, Olper’s seemed to be more popular, thanks to the radical, but pleasant redesign. Milkpak’s offering, while being more subtle and essentially an evolution of their iconic look, also had its fans.

While wading through a redesign exercise one encounters two sorts of naysayers: those who lament the loss of the old ‘heritage’ design and those who question the need for the update, with a sickeningly common ‘why fix what ain’t broken’ injunction. So a marketer (or anyone for that matter) who doesn’t already know, must wonder why a redesign is needed.

olpers new packaging ad launch

Here’s the thing: brands, just like us, need to stay current, fresh and relevant. It is, by no means, a groundbreaking notion nor are we the first ones to say it. You see, brands are like people. And just like people they have qualities and characteristics. The best ones stay current with the times or, better still, are trendsetters. We don’t dress like we used to back in 2003 do we? So why should a brand sport the same graphics that it launched with last decade. In Olper’s case the original was nothing to be proud of. Yes, it became ubiquitous and well known thanks to their sizable marketing spend, but it still wasn’t a thing of beauty by any stretch of imagination. Just a random mashup of colored ribbons with an even more random, and ugly, blue highlight. So yeah the point is change was needed.

Both the redesigns are guided by distinct strategy directives. For Milkpak, it is both an attempt to counter as well as preemptively curtail the rumors about its quality and purity. The strategy, hence, was to showcase the process with which Nestle ‘lovingly brings you the natural milk’. Not groundbreaking, and even somewhat cheesy, but gets the job done rather nicely. It is also smart on Nestle’s part to have the essence of the strategy prominently displayed on the pack itself. The distinctive ‘circle of life’ concept brings to life the idea of ‘handled with love and care for safety and wholesomeness’ every time you look at the pack. Extra points for Firebolt 63 for such a competent execution.

Nestle Milkpak 2013 from The Desi Design on Vimeo.

The new packaging and the campaign are also remarkably well integrated. Where the TVC is a sunny and thoroughly organic walk through the process of delivering the best to you, the package encapsulates that same concept in a circle of good life. This, by the way, also tangentially acknowledges Nestlé’s overall idea of Good Food, Good Life. In that it is a commendable work of visualizing the brand essence in a package.

Olper’s on the other hand has a much different positioning. They’re aiming to be a part of your lifestyle choices, as aptly encapsulated in their tagline ‘Mera Intikhab’ (My Choice). The shot of a homely breakfast table and a jug is a very nice way to personalize the idea.

The old packaging, while nothing beautiful or even particularly competent, was still iconoclastic in its own right for being boldly red in a sea of neutral greens, blues and whites. With the new look, Olper’s is aiming to cement its position as the trendsetter and challenger.

Their campaign echoes the change with unequivocal focus. Naya is a word that is being thrown around this country a little too much lately, and Engro has no unclear association with the Nayaness (Asad Umar, babes!) so we will take this opportunity to wonder whether there are any subliminal messages regarding ‘Naya’ in this episode. But we digress.

Olper’s Relaunch 2013 from The Desi Design on Vimeo.

The approach to the TVC, while perfectly practical and clear, is nevertheless clichéd. Scores of aunties marching through the picture-perfect streets of the Italian Riviera (all perfectly donned in hues of red, no less), with Marina jee egging them on to be part of the change (oh my…the political undertones again!) is silly. Sure, it highlights the new packaging very well, but with a brand of Olper’s standing, you expect more than the barely functional.

olpers new logo old logo

While the overall look is competent and pleasant, it is a case of too many unnecessary elements once you look at it in detail. Take the new Olper’s new logo, it has way too many unnecessary frills. The Wave at the bottom is absolutely unnecessary, the hide and seek going on with the letters also doesn’t add anything of value. The logo has been redone by Singapore-based Cowan. With a name as strong and well known, a simple wordmark ala Nokia could have done the trick much more gracefully. Also, we feel the added tag of ‘Milk’ is unnecessary. Nobody really needs to be told that this is a carton of milk. These are a few gripes about an otherwise competently executed brand refresh.

With all that said, both are excellent examples of package design, nicely capturing the essence of the brand message and skillfully transforming into a visual message.