In an increasingly complex world, it’s hard to be simple. Yet, most of us are hungering for simplicity in our hectic lives.

New York City start-up company Help Remedies recently entered the marketplace with six over-the-counter (OTC) products and a decidedly unconventional approach to health care packaging. Judging from their clean minimalism, it seems Help Remedies aims to revolutionize OTC packaging, and I think they’re onto something here.

If there’s one lesson to be gleaned from their approach, it’s this: Any commodity product can be packaged to look like anything but. Logging on to the company’s website, the first thing we see is: “Help: I want to help someone.”
Immediately, there’s empathy and outreach couched in simple messaging.

Take a look at the products and product packaging. Packaging is entirely compostable, made of molded paper pulp and a bio plastic primarily made of corn. Cool or what? The word “help™” appears in the upper left-hand corner on soft white pillow-like packaging. This is followed by one simple ailment presented in the first person.

  • “help™ ... I have a headache.”

  • “help™ ... I can’t sleep.”

  • “help™... I have allergies.”

You get the idea. After the listed ailment, there’s information about the contents in a few short words.

Each white package is outlined by color and the word “help™” appears in that same color. Remedies are line-priced at $4 each. This is simple, effective segmentation. These products present simple solutions for common health issues.

The company statement on its web site is: “We think a little help, honesty and kindness go a long way.” The subliminal message is: “We’re all in this together.”

These are commodity OTC products, but clever marketing and unusual packaging have elevated them to become one-of-a-kind, unique solutions.

Take a look at consumer products in a specific category you’re interested in.

  • What can be done to make them more appealing and stand out from the crowd of products on the shelf?

  • What would you like to see done with the packaging for a new entry of commonplace products in the marketplace?

I’d love to hear from you: designers, marketers and avid consumers all.

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Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni