The Ellen Degeneres Show is one of the most-watched shows in the United States, with nearly 4,000,000 viewers per episode.
Ellen is particular about design, color and protective of her brand. Ellen is an effective merchandiser and wanted to create a limited edition box. Ellen and her team envisioned the box to contain unique and hard-to-find gift items that would ultimately deepen her relationship with her fans.
Element5 is the most experienced agency in the subscription box space, and Boxit Studio is the leading partner for subscription product development. Her team entrusted our firms to design and create her unique, curated box brand.
We are a few time zones away from Ellen’s team, so weekly calls and check-ins were key to making the project a success. The first item on the agenda was setting up weekly conference calls—led by Boxit Studio— that included Ellen’s team and Element5. Then we began our deep dive into Ellen’s brand. Knowing everything about her brand helped in creating a new product and brand extension that felt essentially “Ellen.”
We took a deep dive into the box design and ended up creating a variety of options knowing a name had not been decided on. We played around with fun and playful options, bold and bright options, more sophisticated and elegant, and options somewhere in the middle to give a range of styles.
After a few rounds of reviews and edits, we began narrowing down the options but still hadn’t landed on the final product name.
Something we determined after going through a few rounds of box design concepts was that Ellen believes in kindness and has respect for all people, regardless of their lifestyles or beliefs. This guiding principle became the tone of voice. Thus, the BE KIND by ellen box was born.
Now that we had a name established we explored variations of BE KIND by ellen as a wordmark to be used on all future boxes. We knew we needed to keep it simple because the box design would be changing each release.
Our first project task was creating the brand narrative—a short, visual narrative informed by recent studies on how humans developed altruism and how kindness seems to be part of our DNA. The narrative set the tone of voice for the project moving forward.
Our next task was creating a landing page for the box, using the brand tone of voice. Boxit Studio performed two levels of intensive research (concept and pricing) and shared the results and critical insights with the teams. Ellen believes in kindness and has respect for all people, regardless of their lifestyles or beliefs. This guiding principle became the tone of voice.
Thus, the BE KIND by ellen box was born.
After our initial conversations we discovered every aspect of copy and design was accounted for. Ellen’s team loved our attention to detail—from the “microcopy” we wrote for buttons (“Let’s be friends” instead of the lifeless “Submit”)—to the simple signup process (“Sign Up, On its Way, Good Happens, Be Amazed”).
There were three principles we wanted to convey in the brand messaging and on the landing page copy:
- Clear: Messaging must clearly convey what this is about, who it’s for, why you’ll love it, and that the process of subscribing should feel effortless.
- Personal: Every aspect of the box must feel like Ellen had made the experience for you, from the copy on the forms to the look and feel of the box. Even the error messages felt like Ellen was speaking to you.
- Charitable: Ellen is generous with her time and money and we all wanted the box to reflect that. A donation is made to The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund for purchasing a box.
Working with Boxit Studios and Ellen’s team we got to work with some great photography to use on the website. We designed and developed the website in a way that Ellen’s team could take over the website and make changes for future box releases.
We knew the box would sell out (just not so quickly!). As soon as the number of boxes hit zero, we programmed the website to change the messaging to reflect that it was sold out. The purchase form also switched to instead capture names and email addresses, allowing us to notify fans of upcoming availability or future boxes.
We created a limited run of 5,000 boxes.
The day before the show aired, Ellen discussed her new box in an Instagram video. The video received over 1.7 million views, over 140,000+ likes, and nearly 2,000 comments.
Each studio audience member of The Ellen DeGeneres Show received a box on the announcement day.
The box was sold out before it was announced. It was sold out in under 24 hours.
Actress, Kristen Bell also mentioned the box in a post.
The box was also featured on MySubscriptionAddiction.com, HelloSubscription.com, Hip2Save.com, and SunscriptionBoxRamblings.com.
Within a week, the box was selling on eBay for 3–4 times its worth.
Over 20,000 fans joined the waiting list.
Scope of Work