New Formula for Beauty

Company: Boots UK
Sector: Retail
Impact: Innovation; Brand knowledge & marketing
Sponsor: Head of Boots Beauty Brands
Timescale: 2 years from concept to launch

Project brief

To produce a new global brand, a “modern beauty classic”, that has the authentic look and feel of a 1920s beauty product range in terms of formulation (traditional ingredients) and merchandising (vintage packaging, nomenclature and style). Collaboration between archives and product development teams needs to deliver authenticity and integrity in product identity, without compromising quality or efficacy.

This range brings back to life the best of our amazing formulation and packaging archive, celebrating the tradition and history which makes Boots the great brand it is today.
Annabel Franks, Head of Boots Beauty Brands 2009
The beauty industry and press … absolutely loved it.
Clare Stafford, Public Relations Team, Boots UK 2009

Business archives used by the team

  • Sample product packaging, showing colours, layout, typeface and dimensions of packaging of beauty and healthcare products, 1920s and 1930s
  • Photographic records of company founding partner, Florence Boot, 1899 -1925
  • Merchandise committee minute books, showing product quantities, point of sale and marketing information,1924-1935
  • Packaging committee minutes showing detail of product tooling, embossing, materials etc, 1924-1935
  • Formula committee minute books, showing product ingredients, 1924-1936
  • Price lists and product catalogues, showing lists of products sold in Boots shops – names and prices and illustrations, 1912-1935

Outcomes and business benefit

  • Creation of a new Boots brand - Original Beauty Formula - with first ever global product launch into European and North American markets.
  • Promotion of heritage and corporate values to new international customers through marketing and PR initiatives.
  • The brand has 15 face, body and bath SKUs with marketing potential to grow product line because of the wealth of archive data, not a one-off collaboration.
  • Design costs minimised by using in-house archive resource - significant development savings made by having access to original 1920s formulations.
  • Speed to market benefits realised by using in-house resource.
  • The association of Florence Boot’s philanthropic activities with the new brand allows cause-related marketing opportunities with The Eve Appeal.
  • “Fantastic” PR benefit of having a great story behind the brand, including the positive corporate responsibility aspect.
  • Greater awareness in the business of the commercial potential of the company’s archive collections.