Air Wick Freshmatic




Air fragrancing device




  • Industrial design
  • Insight and strategy
  • Packaging design
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Prototyping

How multidisciplinary product design is helping Air Wick to lead on sustainability.

RB is a global leader in home-fragrance with Air Wick, a brand DCA has worked with for over a decade. As a key partner in RB’s multi-agency design community, we are committed to constantly evolving Air Wick products, so their design meets the changing needs of consumers and treads more lightly on the planet.

Our latest redesign of Freshmatic, Air Wick’s automatic spray variant, does just this; a transformation that improves the aesthetics, efficiency and sustainability of the device.

Visually more appealing to its target consumers, the redesign uses significantly less plastic, is almost 30% lighter to ship, and is re-engineered to be more efficient to run, slashing the number of batteries needed by half.

Importantly, we’ve helped Air Wick deliver an exciting new variant in a traditional air-care segment, reinforcing Freshmatic’s positioning as the original, category defining format.

This is a story that showcases the benefits of a truly multidisciplinary approach. In this case, how engineering and industrial design work together to improve an established product, and the crucial role consumer insight plays in this process.

It also highlights the beauty of a long-term client relationship; a partnership between RB and DCA that started 15 years ago, when we were asked to help bring one of their products to shelf for the first time. Since then, we have worked on each iteration of Freshmatic, evolving and fine-tuning the device and helping to maintain its market share.

17.2% less plastic, 28.9% lighter to ship and uses just one battery instead of two.

A Fresh Edge

Freshmatic’s automatic spray format is popular with traditional users of home-fragrance, but it’s a category that’s now rife with newer entrants and private label battling for market share.

Our brief, then, was to drive improvements in three areas so RB continues to lead in this busy mid-market segment. First, to meet RB’s ambition to boost sustainability of the product. Second, to reduce production costs through a more efficient design, without compromising the quality of the user’s experience. And third, to make the design more visually appealing to its target consumers.

Modern, Sustainable Design

We set to work by bringing the best of our engineering and design expertise to the table. Mechanical, electronics and software engineers rubbed shoulders with industrial designers in a genuinely collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to improving the design.

A technical evaluation of the engine found that by redesigning the gearbox we could reduce the battery count by 50% – and therefore hit cost reduction and sustainability objectives in one go. Further assessment proved that the performance of the device would not be compromised by the use of just one battery. And, to top it off, its smaller size gave us the opportunity to use less plastic and offered aesthetic benefits too.

Research shows that home-fragrance consumers want to express themselves through the design and scent of the products they buy. It’s a category that’s influenced by visual design trends and our solution needed to reflect this. The larger size of many competitor products is also often a barrier to purchase. Our new design means Freshmatic is now the smallest product on the market. Along with its softer curves and flower motif, hiding the spray within its petals, the design now has the looks its target users find attractive.

The result meets all elements of the brief: a visually appealing and sustainable redesign that costs less to make, uses over 17.2% less plastic, is 28.9% lighter to ship, weighs 25% less than its nearest competitor and is more cost effective to run.

An outcome endorsed by our client, David Bermejo, RB’s Freshmatic marketer: ‘Understanding our customers’ desires for the redesign was essential. […] the new design allows the product to take centre stage in the home environment, something to be proudly displayed, not hidden away. Reducing the amount of plastic is also hugely positive and part of our ambition to make the device more responsible. This has also reduced the shipping weight […] which significantly reduces C02 emissions and consumption of fossil fuels.’