Buddy Bowl Project
For GrC 361, Marketing and Sales for Print and Digital Media, a project was assigned where groups were to create a print product for a specific market, while essentially role-playing as a marketing director for an assigned company, with the sole purpose of introducing the company to the assigned and untouched target market. The product had to be something which the assigned company could theoretically produce.
As a group comprised of Haley A., Samantha S., and myself, we were assigned with the target market of the pet industry and the company Central Coast Printing, a print company based out of Grover Beach, California. We worked with Don Glidden at Central Coast printing very heavily, where I was the main communicator with Don and handled most of the logistics affiliated with the project.
Within the first class meeting, the assigned teams, their companies, and their target markets were assigned, and the first meeting was mostly used for some ideations. Given the target market of the pet industry, we brainstormed a few ideas, which was pretty difficult. I came up with the idea of a printed, recyclable, collapsible dog bowl to replace the pricey and bulky silicone travel bowls, which the group and professor were very intrigued by, along with a few other promising ideas like cat houses made with corrugated paper materials.
For our second class session and group meeting, we made the 15 minute drive from San Luis Obispo to Grover Beach, met Don at Central Coast Printing, toured their facility, met their team, and discussed the project with them. We mentioned the ideas we had, and the idea for a collapsible dog bowl caught the team's attention, resulting in them giving us some samples of paper options and such to work with.
Creating the Buddy Bowl
With the idea for the a collapsible bowl being the winning idea, we began working to figure out a die-line and folding. Sam figured out a great die-line and way to fold the paper in order to make sure there are no cuts on the surface area of the paper, and I translated the die-line and scoring marks into Illustrator. I sent the files over to Don, and we began working toward getting some samples of the bowls printed.
After getting samples printed on synthetic (plastic-like) paper of various thicknesses, I began working to assemble the samples and getting measurements for packaging. We decided to go with a plastic sleeve and a header card for packaging the product, and after discussion with Don and his team I began working to design a header card for the product. I designed the packaging and wrote content for the header card and had it printed. Initially, we had printed the header cards with traditional paper, but after a focus group session and feedback on the packaging, the header card was printed using the same synthetic paper as the product itself, in order to convey the quality and material of the product, and this was indicated on the design with a blurb about the header being the same material as the product.
Marketing the Buddy Bowl
The project covered the creation of the product, and also entailed a formal marketing presentation of it. For this marketing presentation, we were to act as though we were presenting this product to the executive of our company, essentially selling the idea of the product and why we, as a company, should consider producing it.
Given that I handled most of the logistics with the product and interactions with Don and his team, I worked on the numbers; I worked to determine the most effective price per package for sale to retailers, the breakeven, and return on investment. Given that the intent of the project was to create a product merely to introduce our company to an otherwise untouched market, I opted to go with numbers which made for very minimal profit from sales, with a high breakeven of 2,272 packages of the 2,500 created, so as to cultivate a good relationship with the market as opposed to conveying a for-profit marketing plan.
Ultimately, while this was an incredibly daunting project to be handed on the first day of lectures for the quarter, it ended up being something I am incredibly proud of. The product became a useful, recognizable, and great prototype, and certainly a product with immense potential — my dog, Clementine, tested the Buddy Bowl and certainly approved!
To go from my idea for a sustainable, printed, collapsible travel bowl to the final product was a very interesting, fun process. This process would not have been possible without the aid of my groupmates, my professors, and, of course, Central Coast Printing and their own Don Glidden