Dean Christal is an entrepreneur. He comes from a family of successful entrepreneurs; the first synthetic hair wig, CalTan, Simply Orange, and so on. We met when Dean was developing the first, all Velcro sneaker in 1992. Which is another advertising story.
Late in 2005, Dean and I hooked up again. He was in the process of developing a line of shampoos and conditioners that were infused with natural scents that could, in theory, help reduce ones desire to eat thereby becoming the first line of appetite suppressant hair products. Dean sent me his initial concepts where he'd been calling the product "Celebrity Secrets". After looking over his designs and logo executions, I suggested that "Celebrity" was wrong and he should consider "Slenderizing Secrets" as the product name.
Dean loved the name and asked if I'd like to develop some logo and packing ideas for the line. He thought that the product should be packaged like the VOSS bottled water product that had become so popular. I created three versions for him that played off the infused scents for each product. These designs got Dean incredibly excited as he'd decided to create his own molds to blow the bottles.
Anytime you create something from scratch, you're talking money. You're also talking opportunities. I used this opportunity to show Dean a couple of concepts where the bottle also reflected the benefit of the product. These design featured a bottle which gradually tapered in the center and return to the original size at the base. They looked like something that helped control ones appetite should come in.
I also took this opportunity to develop a graphical look that could be translated into advertising and marketing down the road. The imagery was based around using beautiful Greek statues. These have represented man's interpretation of beauty for the last several centuries. There would also be no residuals paid, or modeling fees, or chance of celebrity endorser being nailed for drug possession, DUI, etc.
It was about that time that Dean said that he'd shared my latest designs with a few friends and while they liked the concept, they weren't really wild about the type font, the placement, maybe the color of the product was off, shouldn't the bottle be thinner, couldn't it have a star burst to get people to see it better on the shelves...blah, blah, blah.
I refined the design once more. This time, the group of friends had expanded to include "Experts" in the hair care products industry. The first thing everyone agreed to was that the bottle was too narrow and that that obviously limited how big you could make the logo.
At this point I'd talked with everyone who was now part of the growing focus group, from the bottle manufacturer to the guy who delivered pizza to Dean's house. You had to talk to pizza guy because he was the target market after all, his girl friend needed to drop a few pounds and she'd be buying the product. And as long as the pizza guy had input, why not get the son of a friend of the sales guy to develop a few additional logo approaches. To appease everyone, I donated a day of my time laying out each of their concepts. The next day on our conference call, after everyone had fallen in love with their own approach, I spent the next 15 minutes ripping each design apart because they were shit.
After that, Dean and I had a separate conversation regarding how everyone's input was killing this project and causing him to doubt his gut. I sent him an additional design that came from talking with the bottle making engineers. I asked them if they could blow a bottle inside another bottle. They'd never done it, but they were excited and positive that it could be accomplished. This designs was inspired by the idea that the outer body of the bottle represented the somewhat overweight girlfriend of the pizza delivery guy, while the inner, slender bottle represented the original concept of the "slenderizing" effect of the product. The increase surface area on the face of the bottle allowed for a larger area to place type.
This is what my final design looked like. I say "final", because the focus group thought it might be cool to incorporate stars and possibly use the increased surface area of the bottle to add more color, and with more color you'd might not need the inner bottle, and what about the name, shouldn't be something more like "olatherapy", blah, blah, blah...
At some point, the agency or the client will realize they've reached a point of diminishing returns. I swore that before I simply ended up executing someone else's cobbled together concepts to pay my bills, I'd resign the business. That's just what I did after this one last attempt to hit my concept out of the park.