Oxbow Animal Health

Derrick Lin


Design: Kick
Project Type: Produced
Client: Oxbow Animal Health
Location: Minneapolis
Packaging Contents: Small pets products

Minneapolis, Minnesota — Minneapolis branding + design agency, Kick, partnered with Oxbow Animal Health® to launch a line of products that will grow the small pet category, their market share and engage consumers at shelf.

Oxbow Animal Health is a family-owned and operated company dedicated to helping small animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters lead longer, healthier lives.

Their purpose expands beyond nutrition to total care of animals and the people who love them. They are guided by four fundamental principles: quality, innovation, education and appreciation.

Turning gift purchases into purposeful enrichment for a pet
When the Oxbow veterinarians and marketing team looked for growth opportunities, they saw that 74% of small pet owners purchase gifts for their pets, and that number was up 16% over the last study. They also noticed that 44% of these gifts were impulse purchases.

This launched the idea of bringing purpose and education to this behavior, because they knew these small, exotic animals don’t just enjoy a toy once in a while, they NEED this type of enrichment to live their fullest potential and have a better life.

In fact, Oxbow veterinarians defined the 4 types of activity an animal needs to thrive. Those core 4 activities are:

  • exploring
  • playing
  • hiding
  • chewing

So, their goal was to educate retailers and consumers that small pet toys should not be seen as a special treat, but rather, a necessary enrichment their pet requires.

Packaging that educates
That’s where Kick came in. In designing the new line of Oxbow Enriched Life products, Kick incorporated an educational element to each package defining the type of enrichment each product offered.

Kick helped to establish a purpose for each purchase/product by designing a communication element to educate the consumer about the core 4 types of enrichment activities. In addition, these enrichment categories provided rationale for the added shelf space the retailer would need to allocate the introduction of 55+ new product SKUs.

Kick’s design reinforces the nurturing nature of the brand and the love the consumers share with their pets. In fact, their tagline; “Nurture their nature, everyday” hits home the core purpose of the entire line of Oxbow Enriched Life products.

Keeping it simple on small packages
With many of the packages being backer cards or small header cards, the information had to be distilled to the most simple and impactful messages yet provide a purpose for each SKU.

Oxbow’s Enriched Life products launched in April, 2019. Kick also provided a complete launch communication plan targeting the Oxbow sales team, retailers and consumers to help educate and engage along all points of the sell-in to the consumer education and point of sale.

Retailers’ reception to the product line has been overwhelmingly positive.