Design from Davis highlights fresh ingredients and superior quality of Kraft's Philadelphia brand

Case Study by Mark Roberts RGD, Davis

Davis has worked with Kraft since 1995 on many brands and has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Philadelphia brand, both in the US and Canada. 



The latest US master brand redesign was launched because of changing consumer perceptions that private label was closing the quality gap.


Philadelphia needed to retain category dominance through a series of adjustments that would put greater distance between them and their store brand counterparts. We needed customers to keep selecting Philadelphia by conveying the superiority of the brand, product and package. Kraft undertook a large-scale product reformulation resulting in a cleaner ingredient list, with segments of real fruit/vegetable in every tub and no artificial flavours – this was the core of the rebrand.




Our strategy team began by doing an in-depth audit of the consumers and the category of the product to define Philadelphia's ‘true point of difference’. We compiled trend ‘snapshots’ to illustrate how consumers react to the idea of ‘fresh’. Research was also conducted to find out how consumers react to certain visual cues ranging from shape to colour, pattern to illustration style, typography to structure. This information armed the design team with a direction. Collaborating with Kraft, we focused on defining the portfolio strategy, architecture, brand personality and visual brand style. The stage was then set for tangible refinements. 


Davis worked closely with Kraft's R&D team to create a vessel that reinforced visual brand principles, stacked well, allowed for an incredibly clean and organized shelf presence and communicated with the consumer long before they had the product in hand.


The product also needed to feel good when in use (i.e. be easy to open and close). We also brought in little added touches to improve the user's interaction with the product – for example, the bottom radius of the container is rounded to accommodate a typical spreading knife.


Once the structure was finalized, Davis evolved Philadelphia’s brand logo to showcase their premium positioning as well as their 140-year heritage. The graphics were redesigned to put the new cleaner ingredients front and centre; to showcase the artistry of Philadelphia’s new product. Beautiful photography highlights the inclusion of real fruit and vegetables with a focus on fresh colours and textures. The "smear" was also the visual representation of the consumer to Philly – someone who loves to spread their cream cheese on everything.







One of the key structural challenges in the dairy category is round containers. They 'spin' on the shelf, making it hard for brands to create an effective brand block and difficult for consumers to read face panels. Our goal was to 'control the roll'.



The rebrand resulted in strong consumer research feedback and, even better, a dramatic sales lift for the brand.


Designer Takeaways

  • Philadelphia is a leader, so we approached design in a revolutionary way. Don't follow what everyone else is doing.
  • Find something unique in the product and make that your beacon. Artistry became our goal to celebrate the product, which was really beautiful.
  • Share the client's excitement for what they are doing - be part of a team that helps bring a new innovation to life.


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