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Behind the Work: Repurposing Shampoo to Fight the Philippines’ Plastic Waste Problem



BBDO Guerrero associate creative director Choi Co on how the idea for The Dissolving Bottle came around and why she believes font and type is a powerful tool for change

Behind the Work: Repurposing Shampoo to Fight the Philippines’ Plastic Waste Problem
As a society that’s more conscious about plastic waste than ever before, reducing the amount we use can be a struggle when it comes to the health and beauty sector. In the Philippines much of the plastic waste comes from single use shampoos and toothpaste, so it seems fitting that BBDO Guerrero have been working on creating a shampoo bar that is completely plastic-free and dissolves after each use.

The end result is The Dissolving Bottle, a redesign of shampoo with an eco-friendly makeover. Not only does it do the job of cleaning hair, but it is shaped in a ‘traditional’ shampoo bottle way featuring quirky font and organic ingredients from local manufacturers. 

The campaign has received plenty of praise from influencers and local media alike and now that it's been a part of local society for some time, LBB’s Natasha Patel caught up with BBDO Guerrero’s associate creative director Choi Co to hear her take on this eco-friendly invention.

LBB> What was the initial brief for this campaign?

Choi> The campaign began less with a brief and more of a series of questions: “Why is it that shampoo bars aren’t mainstream here in the Philippines?” “Why is it that the most common shampoo purchase is at the most cost to the environment?” “Why do all shampoo bars look the same?” From there, a lot of research! 

LBB> A lot of science went into this piece! As a creative, how was it working with all the technicalities of ensuring the product works?

Choi> The Dissolving Bottle took around a year of designing, re-designing, prototyping, and testing. Because they were hand-made and locally done, we had limitations that big factories didn’t. For example, the font couldn’t be too small, thin and complex to aid readability. Design changes were also done with the shape of the bottle. We had to pick a form that would least likely be damaged in shipping and the easiest to hold. Everything had to be considered—from production, to shipping, and to how it lathers in the user’s hands. There was a lot of diligence involved to create something sustainable throughout.

LBB> Why was this campaign so important now?

Choi> Projects like these are all the more important these days. With the pandemic and the world needing to recover, we look to be part of projects where we can contribute rather than take. 

LBB> The shampoo has been sent out to hotels and influencers, what has their reaction been?

Choi> We’ve sent these bottles to hotels in the Philippines and they loved it. Especially our Boracay hotel partners. Since our launch, we’ve received quite a number of emails and partnership opportunities that will be keeping us busy for the next few months. 

LBB> Brand are being invited to customise their own ‘bottles’, and so it seems the project is one that has a long-life! Was this an aim when it was first created?

Choi> Yes! The main goal was to make the shampoo bar more usable and intuitive with a simple redesign.

LBB> The Philippines has a large portion of plastic waste each year, do you think this campaign will help the problem, and if so how?

Choi> Solving plastic waste begins with shifting consumer behaviour and perception. We need to make the switch as easy as possible. The solution had to be interesting and intuitive enough to be considered. The Dissolving Bottle did a good job of reintroducing a smart and sustainable solution in a more consumer-friendly package. 

LBB> The colours and writing is so quirky on the bottles, what went into the design?

Choi> Much of the design was centred around the question—what would make me add this to my cart or be happy to gift it? How can we beat fancy expensive plastic? Colour definitely plays a huge role in getting consumers to reach for it, but what gets it brought home is the unique personality that comes with each bottle.

LBB> What was it like working with the Naturale Market on sourcing ingredients?

Choi> It always helps to work with people who are passionate about what they do. The Naturale Market has long pushed eco-friendly and local solutions for the everyday. When you work with suppliers that have the same values , interesting solutions come to life. Together, we picked natural ingredients like Lavender, Tea tree and Peppermint along with other popular scents. 

LBB> You previously worked on the DOT campaign where font and a redesign of the brand was important. In a way, this project is similar as font plays a huge part and redesigning the public's thinking of shampoo is a huge task. What was it like for you? 

Choi> With soap, you can’t propose intricate forms and it’s not like there’s an opportunity to print a photo on it. Naturally, I leaned towards type. It is a powerful visual tool that I love using. If done right, it can elevate copy and tell a story on its own. With this project, building the dissolving font was an essential aspect. Seeing the copy melting away added character to the product. 

LBB> Where do you hope this project goes in the future? 

Choi> When solutions like The Dissolving Bottle become more global, the better it is for the world. If we can prove that sustainable is fun and usable, it opens up the possibilities for other suppliers, designers and inventors to challenge what sustainable looks like. It’s very exciting to think about how far the rest of the world can go.

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BBDO Guerrero, Wed, 28 Apr 2021 15:15:32 GMT