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September 26, 2006

Airline Restrictions Build Smaller Brand Names

The US is to “relax” its ban on liquids on planes, restricting travellers to 3 oz. containers or less if they are in “zip-top bags,” according to Yahoo News.

my_wet_stuff.jpgThis seems like another opportunity for web sites and business that have sprung up to deal with the new rules, like, for example. Little bottles of toiletries that look like “samples” offer airlines wonderful co-branding opportunities.

In fact, UK based easyGroup must already be ahead of the curve: they offer us easyJet as well as easy4men, a cosmetics line that is sure to be resized. So it seems that whoever can imaginatively and immediately introduce new toiletry products that come pre-bagged and in small containers will have a distinct edge. Are you listening, small brands?

An article in the Hartford Courant illustrates all the different, heretofore little known product names that are benefiting from the new air travel restrictions, and which are scrambling to take market share from the lucrative business traveller market.

burt.gifBrand names that are niche products now, like Superbrite Dry Mouthwash, or Burt' Bees Shampoo Bars are taking center stage over the big names from Proctor and Gamble that are either too wet or big to take onboard. Hotels are already getting into the act -- Clinique has hugely benefited from the ban, but so have the Omni, Wyndham and Marriot brand names.

Hotels supply these to customers and gain their kudos, but think about it: If you were to be the high-end, small-time toiletry maker that offered an entire range of products in 1-3 oz bottles, your first customers would probably be hotel buyers.

And what about Ziploc, the brand name that is - let’s face it - synonymous with the term “zip top bag”? It seems like now is the right time to push their very middle class brand name to travellers and yuppies and not simply stay-at-home moms and brown baggers.

ziploc.gifZiploc has an opportunity to offer prepackaged deals with cosmetics and toiletry manufacturers, and co-brand with high-end product names like Clinique and L’Oreal. If these restrictions stay, I would imagine it should be a breeze to get a carton of shampoos all individually packed in Ziploc bags that would fit in a briefcase or carry on.

Or maybe they should create a “travellers” Ziploc brand extension that offers slightly smaller bags to accommodate those little shampoo bottles. Ziploc, if you don’t do it, some other "zip-top bag" maker will -- and probably one you’ve never heard of.

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Posted by William Lozito at September 26, 2006 3:46 PM
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