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Brand (Re)New: Dr. Smith’s Diaper Rash Sprays

The Story: Mission Pharmacal, a family-owned company based in San Antonio, acquired the Dr. Smith’s brand of skin-care products in 2009. The brand was rich in heritage and authenticity. Dr. Smith’s creator and namesake, Forrest M. Smith, was a beloved pediatrician who started his pediatric practice in Texas in 1952. He believed in creating a better way to help his young patients and worked to perfect a premium blend of ingredients that parents have trusted to treat diaper rash for more than 50 years.

Today, as part of the Mission Pharmacal family of products, Dr. Smith’s continues a legacy of innovation and dedication to soothing skin irritations. The company strives to deliver effective products that promote comfortable skin for all ages.

His diaper rash formula was highly successful, and resulted in an enthusiastic following throughout Texas. Since its acquisition of the brand, Mission Pharmacal expanded the baby brand geographically, and also introduced new products for two emerging target audiences: adults who suffer from incontinence and professional caregivers within institutional settings. This brand growth provided a great opportunity to re-evaluate the current packaging for the full Dr. Smith’s family of products, now that the line includes additional products.

In 2014, Mission Pharmacal introducing a patented zinc oxide diaper rash spray to the marketplace. This was followed by the launch of Dr. Smith’s Adult Barrier Spray in 2015. These spray products employ a propellant that meets criteria for non-flammability, low environmental impact, formulation compatibility and reliable application performance. 

“GGB worked closely with the Mission Pharmacal team to understand how the brand could strengthen its visibility and performance on-shelf.”

The Challenge: To redesign packaging for the brand, Mission Pharmacal reached out to Goldstein Group Branding (GGB), a New York-based brand identity and design firm that incorporates strategic and analytical techniques to achieve bottom-line results.

GGB worked closely with the Mission Pharmacal team to understand how the brand could strengthen its visibility and performance on-shelf. GGB conducted intensive qualitative and quantitative research studies—including the usage of color crayon drawings—to uncover unaided brand equities with both brand and category users.

Research revealed the Dr. Smith trademark character did not have as much brand equity as it had in the past, so there was an opportunity refresh the brand’s traditional shield and feature baby imagery on the package. Additionally, with its new diaper rash spray product, there was a bigger opportunity to highlight the portable and no-mess attributes.

The older adult segment had very different needs and sought their own formulas and messaging to be represented in a serious and ethical manner to ensure the products were formulated for different generational needs and were not the same formula as used on babies.

Dr. Smith’s Before and After GGB

The Solution: Based on this research, GGB now understood which core identifiers should be left behind, which to move forward and which to reinvent. GGB amplified the brand’s innovative Moisture Shield technology and unique spray application while clarifying each segment to prioritize what consumers trust and have come to expect from the Dr. Smith’s brand.

The baby segment moved forward the yellow and blue brand equity, replaced the Dr. image with the twin bears and attached an emotive descriptor: “A Calming Cure for Every Bottom.”

The adult incontinence segment shifted to become blue and white to signal ethical adult care complete with a sub-brand name; Adult Barrier and a serious brand descriptor, “Caregivers’ Choice.” The institutional segment was further enhanced with a touch-free hand symbol.

The brand re-stage is poised to help increase sales as the Dr. Smith’s brand is now trade-dressed to welcome new customers while forever pleasing Dr. Smith’s loyal following of parents in need.

Originally published in BrandPackaging Magazine, November 2017

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