McCoy’s & Concept Work in General

McCoys Crisps Redesign Front

I had this sent in a while back and was initially slow to post as I wanted to ask the guys behind this one some questions. So answers back today I’m bringing you a McCoys redesign concept from the folks over at BTL Brands.

Here’s the blurb:
McCoy’s potato chips have long been marketed as “man chips”, but to us they’ve never looked or felt particularly manly. We set out to change that with a branding update and packaging redesign. The challenge was to differentiate McCoy’s from other brands, and do so in a uniquely manly way.

The big idea wasn’t in the graphics, but in the actual structure of the packaging. We decided that the bag should open along its longest side, contrary to conventional chips bags. This means the bag remains exactly the same size, but the opening is extended by a whole two inches, so proper big-handed men can actually fit their hands into the bag.

Next we manned up the design by stripping away the clutter, simplifying the branding, replacing the usual reflective foilized plastic with matt foilized kraft paper, and printing in black ink only. Extravagant flavours like “Flame Grilled Steak” and “Thai Sweet Chicken” were renamed simply to “Beef” and “Thai”. As a final touch, the top and bottom were cut in a ridged line to reflect the ridge cut of the chips inside. The end result is simple and manly: The Real McCoy’s.

Upon asking Santeri Lohi (Creative Partner) told me that this was a concept that since release had received a lot of coverage and as such they were in talks with the client to look at the possibilities behind the design.

To start off the concept itself is great, a simple rotation and hey presto you have a man sized bag ready to go. Simple, effective and cleverly done. The graphics themselves keep within this vain and are a nice update that now show off a more man sized brand typeface complete with distressed effect, 1 colour print and a cleverly introduced ridge effect around the main holding device.

Normally Id stop there, say it was all great and send you over to the BTL brands website but seeing as this design has received so much coverage the commercial designer in me can’t help addressing some of the practical issues with the design as well.

First up most people probably aren’t aware that when changing the size or orientation of a product your probably asking the client to change every machine they have in place to accommodate (in this case) the new bag. This could cost them millions and as such work like this is likely to remain a concept for a long time to come (sad but true). I’m not saying that’s 100% the case here as I simply don’t know, but it’s definitely something worth keeping in mind.

Yes, yes but designers can’t always be contained by costs, sometimes we have to push the boundaries I hear you cry. Agreed, when presenting to clients I think its great to challenge the conventional in one or two routes and as such this is totally valid but so many blogs overlook this issue I thought I’d use this design to raise this simple but important point.

Then we move onto the graphics where we again find a few other real world issues.

The first and most glaring is the total lack of colour. It now becomes much more difficult to identify flavours and whilst it may look visually more pleasing this simply isn’t going to be practical in a real world situation. You couldn’t guarantee that single bags being sold in a supermarket would be correctly displayed, you’d most likely lose the product descriptor entirely and as such you’d have to address this issue.

Secondly there’s the changing of the name, Flame Grilled Steak now becomes beef, OK but what about Salt and Vinegar and Cheese and Onion ? So often in concept work copy is changed to suit the design but we have to be particle and address the worst case scenarios not just those that are easy to modify.

Lastly I’d also question the use of the craft paper with a 1 colour print, the use of this style of material with such a basic print could easily be perceived as a budget brand so as a client I’d be extremely nervous about implementing it. That said you could also argue the reverse and say it adds a more natural feeling to the product but seeing as this is all speculative I’ll leave that one up to you.

What I’m really saying is, whilst it may look more premium to those looking for a more minimalist stripped back approach it could easily come across in another way to the consumer and once again with concept work it’s easy to overlook these kind of potential issues.

So to conclude, although I really like the concept of this design and its ingenious take on a rather stale category we must never forget to question how such work would perform in the real world. With a few changes I think this work could really stand out in a category crowded by me too brands but I guess only time will tell if that will become a reality.

Lastly and as always make sure you get yourself over to the BTL brands website to check out more of their great work now.

McCoys Crisps Redesign 1

McCoys Crisps Redesign 2

McCoys Crisps Redesign 3

McCoys Crisps Redesign 4

McCoys Crisps Redesign 5

McCoys Crisps Redesign 6

4 Comments on "McCoy’s & Concept Work in General"

  1. NARROW says:

    Totally agree, nicely said!

  2. Theon says:

    I agree with the article too but I think it could be changed without too much additional work and often some of the issues get worked out after presenting to the client.

  3. Santeri says:

    Thanks for the post!

    We did develop color-coded versions as well, but decided to go down the minimal road to put maximum emphasis on the 90° man-hand twist. If this were to go live you would no doubt see some color hitting the packs.

    And of course there would be costs involved in changing the production line, but it only takes one brave brand to take the leap, and soon everyone follows. We hope to be eating all our favorite chips out of this format of packaging in a few years time!

    • admin says:

      Thanks for extra info Santeri, nice to know you guys did initially consider adding colour to the packs. I did cover the fact that this design is totally valid, just wanted to leave folks with the though that in the real world this would be part of an overall presentation.

      Overall it would be great to see a format like this introduced and it goes so well with the man crisp positing that McCoy’s could really reclaim the part of a market that they have no doubt lost over the years, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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