Packaging Design & Product Development: Blue Chip Calmers


Applecalm and Carrotcalm are two new instant calmers for horses, from Blue Chip Feeds.

Blue Chip already have a very successful calming product for horses, Blue Chip Karma. However customer asked them for a syringed instant calmer so that they could take it to competitions with them – syringes are both very portable and easy to use.

Blue Chip developed the formula in the syringes based on the successful Karma¬†formulation then decided to add some natural flavouring as an added extra. They asked XOXX to design the packaging for what was known in the testing phase as¬†“Instant Karma”.

Although we liked the name “Instant Karma” – we developed the original Karma name, and love John Lennon’s track ‘Instant Karma’ – we looked at the market and didn’t think that it would set the products apart from the crowd. There are many other syringed instant calmers available for horses, and even though the Blue Chip formulation is superior, everyone is making the same claims, so we needed something to set the product apart.

The one thing that is really different about the Blue Chip calmers is the flavour, so we focussed on that. At first this was a difficult sell to Blue Chip… from a technical point of view the flavours do not ‘do’ a lot – they don’t make the horses calmer, so (they asked) “why not focus on the ingredients that do do something?”. The answer is simply that people assume that products work (especially when backed by an established brand), or the company wouldn’t be selling them. So there is no point trying to convince your potential customers that a product works, when they already assume that they do.

Coupled with this was the fact that syringed calmers is an established market. We saw it that our job was not to get people to start buying syringed calmers, it was more to get people who buy syringed calmers to buy the Blue Chip one instead.

So we focussed on the flavours and developed the names Applecalm and Carrotcalm, which do ‘exactly what they say on the tin.

Focussing on the flavours also gives an emotional side to the products, as people feel that they are treating their horses as they give them the products.

We ran a poll on the Blue Chip facebook page to see if people preferred giving their horses apples or carrots, so that we could decide which flavour to develop. The results were so varied and interesting that we decided that it was best to develop both, and give customers the option. Plus, having 2 flavours focusses the attention on the point of difference, the flavours.

We developed the point of sale displays, to further enhance the option of the 2 flavours and even included a card in the box, which retailers could send back to Blue Chip to request point of sale material and have their stores listed in the interactive stockist finder on the Blue Chip site.