Owned by Unilever since 2010, Simple Skincare is a British brand of soap and skincare products, designed for sensitive skin. Starting in 1960, Simple is touted as one of the first to offer facial cleansing without perfume and colour. More recently, the brand has been focusing on being green, “constantly looking for smarter, more recyclable packaging options”. 

A year ago, Simple launched six of its products in new mini pouches, made from “62% less plastic” and “designed to tap into Gen Z’s eco-conscious mindset”. The new packaging has not substituted the travel size bottles with the same products, which are still being sold, but rather offers an alternative to them. A simple choice steer, comparing the two formats, revealed a strong consumer preference to the eco-friendly option:

Judging from the result above, with both packaging options currently available for consumers to choose from, it seems likely that the new option would sell more. However, in reality people often make a stated choice of the more socially desirable option, which doesn’t necessarily translate into purchase decisions. To better adjust our judgement for the new packaging success, we perform a blind test, i.e. a split-by-image steer. It splits consumers into two groups, one shown the pouch version, and the other – the bottle, while the accompanying product description is identical for both. The results below highlight that the two options are likely to perform equally well:

While the new packaging might not be seen as superior at first, making consumers aware of the associated environmental benefit is likely to contribute to a more positive product image in future.

Beauty brands often stick to signature designs. For Simple, this means designs that convey the products’ pureness and simplicity. The brand has traditionally used transparent or white backgrounds featuring only the most important information and very few graphics. However, the new line attempts slightly funkier designs. In a split-by image steer we checked whether the picture design would perform better than a clear front:

Whether the pouches make use of simpler or funkier design makes no real difference in terms of purchase intent. However, differentiating the new line from older versions that are still in retail makes sense, especially for attracting Gen Z consumers. The new packaging aims to portray the product as youthful and fun while preserving much of the brand’s signature design.