Nudging for Good » Case Studies » Awards Finalists 2017 » Unilever Compressed – Small is the new Big: How Unilever helped people to adopt a more eco-friendly packaging

Unilever Compressed – Small is the new Big: How Unilever helped people to adopt a more eco-friendly packaging


1. What is the observed insight?

In the hustle and bustle of a supermarket visit, sustainability is not normally top of mind for deodorants shoppers. Of much more importance are the benefits offered, brands that they trust and the price. Yet we had found a way to reduce the environmental impact of aerosols, by offering the same number of sprays in a Compressed Deodorant. The challenge was how to convince people to break the hard wiring in their brain that something smaller would give as many uses as something bigger.

2. The Nudge

The challenge was a case of theory vs. reality. How easy it is to read of a product which works the same on paper! How different it is to pick up something smaller, lighter and thinner and convince the brain that it will work the same. We had to overcome the size disadvantage at shelf.

Special “Booster Trays” were placed in store to reduce the relative size difference, and show the eye that everything was equal. Meanwhile, on these trays, reassuring messages were placed to communicate the little green cans contained the same amount of sprays in a smaller pack. A green band was established to differentiate from other small deodorants on the shelf.

At launch, we borrowed from the heritage and trust of brands like Dove, Rexona and Axe stating “we’ve put our heads together to make our deodorants more environmentally friendly”. We used media as a way to broadly communicate that compressed deodorants lasted as long as the big ones.

To make compressed commonplace, we shared our learnings and published a “how to” guide to assist other manufacturers develop their own compressed aerosols. We’ve also invited peers to call their versions “compressed” and use the green band design we’ve pioneered, on their packaging to create a common shorthand for consumers.


3. Evidence path

By encouraging consumers to make one small change, together we have helped to save over 1,500 tons of aluminium since launch, which is enough to make over one million bicycles. Compressed deodorants already represent 20-50% of all Unilever aerosols in markets like UK, France and Germany.



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