ShowerSpa – A Spa Experience in your own Bathroom.
PZ Cussons are personal care brand leaders with brands such as Imperial Leather, Carex and Original Source shower gel.
Years ago, a product manager at Gillette, sitting at his desk surrounded by bottles of liquid soap and shower gel, said something that stayed with me; “what we need is a new way of getting shower gel out of the bottle and on to the customer”. After all, the quicker you can do that the sooner they go back to the store to buy another bottle.
When we first spoke to Cussons they, like us, had also been thinking along the same lines and how to mix the soap with the water before it got to the bather. However, the ideas around at the time were more plumbing than personal care and required the removal of the shower head before they could be used. Not a successful scenario for personal care products.
Step 1: Identify the problem without defining it
PZC had no plans to start selling soap in plumbing stores so what we needed was a solution that could be part of the offering in the beauty store. That meant it would have to be aesthetically pleasing, compact and require virtually no installation by the user.
From a commercial perspective it should be Cussons dedicated and not be capable of use with competitor products. If the device was not disposable, then a base refill business model like razors and razor blades would be an advantage to drive sales.
And from the user’s perspective clearly it should be easy for them to change the product they are using and turn the supply of soap on and off at will.
Step 2: Solving the problem by technical understanding.
The way to solve this problem was to understand the fundamental technical drawback of the current technologies which was forcing them to be big bulky engineered products and not fit with the sales environment of personal care products.
Fundamentally, all the existing Products use a pressurised venturi to draw soap into the water flow upstream of the shower head. This meant that the product had to be designed to with stand mains water pressure which can be as high as 100 pounds per square inch. It was the need to resist these high forces which was making these products bulky, cumbersome and difficult to install.
Step 3: The Solution – assume nothing
The first thing we did was state an objective even though we had absolutely no clue of how it might ever be achieved. What we needed to do was somehow bring together the soap on the water somewhere between the shower head and the bather.
The instant response to this of course is that if you put something between the shower and the babies are you are going to wreck the spray and ruin the quality of the shower. So, in the spirit of not assuming anything we just tried sticking different things in front of the shower to see what happened when the water hit them. Most of the time we just got very wet!
The breakthrough happened when we put a sieve, yes, an ordinary kitchen sieve, in front of the shower spray. Surprisingly the spray passed straight through the sieve with very little interruption. All we needed to do now was to make the sieve soapy.
Turned out that that was the easy part as the viscosity of the soap made it cling to the sieve until it was washed away by the passing water.
Step 4: Results – aroma and smooth skin
Installation was made easy with the use of a Go-Pro helmet camera style adhesive pad and the sieve dispenser itself was designed to wrap around the bottle so it took up no space on the shelf.
The concept was trialled by a focus group of 20 with 80% reporting that the product improved their showering experience especially regarding aroma and skin feel. The improved aroma is due to the aeration of the soap water mix which releases scent more effectively. The improved skin feel results from the soap reaching more of the bather for longer since it goes everywhere the water does. In a nutshell standing in a waterfall of warm scented bubbles is a spa experience in the comfort of your own bathroom.