The Felix brand property: still fresh after 20 years

One of our favourite examples of distinctive brand properties is for Felix, the cat food brand. Distinctive properties help create valuable "memory structure" for brands, that allows them to be recalled at the point of decision making. The cartoon cat has been doing this for the Felix brand for more than 20 years.

I was impressed to see on a recent supermarket store check to see how the marketing team is still keeping Felix fresh. Check out the cat food shelf below to see the clever pack design that helps the brand create impact at point-of-sale. Below I capture some learning from this example.


1. Think point of sale, not Powerpoint

It is still shocking to see how often new pack design in presented in isolation in a Powerpoint deck. Even worse in presenting a new pack in a deck alongside the old pack, a situation which no consumer will ever see in real life. Much better is to always think about the pack design in context, as it will look on shelf alongside competition. This is clearly what the Felix team and their agency have done with the multi-pack design show above. When two different types of multi-pack are side by side, you see the whole picture of Felix the cat, creating extra impact.

2. Make your design foolproof

The trick of showing the whole picture of Felix the cat relies, or course, on the packs being displayed on shelf in the right way. You need two different types of multi-pack to be merchandised side-by-side. And this is hard to actually create in a real supermarket, where an hourly paid, harried shop employee is having to re-stack the shelves in a rush.

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What I like about the Felix multi-pack design is that the design is still impactful when the packs are not perfectly put on shelf. Even with two of the same packs placed side by side, the design is impactful in its own right.

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3. Amplify your property across the mix

Having a distinctive property in your packaging design is a great asset that helps create standout on shelf. Felix have gone a step further to amplify this property across the whole mix. Felix the cat creates consistency across the marketing mix, and across time. This means that different "chapters" of the Felix brand story can be told to create freshness, whilst having still consistency (see below). The power of the Felix brand property in communication is demonstrated by a return on investment of up to three times the competition, according to sources at the media agency who works on the brand. The communication efforts have also "loaded" the brand property with meaning. So, not only does the property trigger recognition at the moment of truth, it unlocks in an instant brand meaning.

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In conclusion, the Felix brand shows how to keep creating fresh consistency and distinctiveness with a brand property, more than two decades after it first appeared.