Today’s brand owners rely more than ever on packaging to entice consumers to purchase their products — so much so that the package itself often serves as a keystone of integrated marketing campaigns built out with print, electronic and social media components.
An early pioneer of this strategy was Absolut Vodka, whose iconic advertising campaign continues to be a textbook example of successful marketing. The campaign, which began in 1980, made the distinctive Absolute bottle the star or “the hero,” and was often the only thing shown in the advertisement along with a two-word tagline. More than 30 years and 1,000 ads later, the campaign has become an integral part of modern culture and been recognized with hundreds of awards.
Brand owners continue to make unique packaging structures, new materials, eye-catching colors and first-in-category graphics the stars of the show and the catalyst for brand awareness. Nowhere will this trend be more evident than in The Brand Zone at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2011, being held September 26–28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, a special pavilion that will help brand owners discover innovative materials and containers to increase visual impact, enhance convenience, maximize shelf life, add functionality and improve sustainability scores.
Let’s take a look at a few recent examples of brands that are using packaging as the platform for their advertising and marketing strategy.
Diet Pepsi slims down and shows off a new, trim silhouette
Diet Pepsi recently rolled out a taller, sassier new Skinny Can. The new packaging, available to consumers nationwide, launched with a series of fashion events and celebrations during New York's Fall 2011 Fashion Week, which took place during February 2011. According to Advertising Age magazine, PepsiCo built a major marketing campaign for 2011 around the new package. Plans include print, out-of-home, TV and digital buys, and of course, the package itself is front and center in renderings and copy calls out the new design. In addition to promoting the can, ads support the concept of "getting the skinny" — i.e., the inside scoop — on the latest in culture, fashion, style and design.
"Diet Pepsi has a long history of celebrating women through iconic fashion imagery seen in our infamous and historical advertising campaigns, and we're proud to continue that tradition," says Jill Beraud, chief marketing officer, PepsiCo. "Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today's most stylish looks." In response to concerns that the can glorified a thinner body image, PepsiCo clarified that the campaign is focused on celebrating innovation and style.
The company also features the new package in the Diet Pepsi social media strategy, incorporating it into the company’s Twitter feed (@dietpepsi) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/dietpepsi) page. In addition, several “behind the scenes” videos are posted on the PepsiCo YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/pepsi), with celebrities like Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara discussing the campaign as well as what they like about the new packaging.
Wild color palette encourages young women to speak up
When Kimberly-Clark Corporation launched U by Kotex, the brand used bold colors and packaging design to spark conversation surrounding women's health. The design overhaul for Kimberly-Clark’s iconic brand marks a milestone in the company’s history.
The U by Kotex line includes tampons, maxi pads and panty liners with brightly-colored, eye-catching package designs intended to redefine the category by encouraging women to change the tone of conversation about feminine care from shame and embarrassment to open, honest dialogue.
“For the past 50 years, advertisers — Kotex included — have been perpetuating a cultural stigma by emphasizing that the best menstrual period is one that is ignored,” says Andrew Meurer, Vice President, North American Group Brands Feminine/Adult/Senior Care at Kimberly-Clark. “The way the Kotex brand will be positioned in the future will be very different. We are changing our brand equity to stand for truth, transparency and progressive female care. Moving forward, the tone of the Kotex brand's marketing will adhere to its new tagline: ‘Break the Cycle.’ ”
On the retail shelves, signature black boxes feature a die-cut window that allows consumers to see the rainbow of neon-colored interior product wrappers as well as product size and thickness. Amid a sea of pastels and white, U by Kotex nearly leaps off the shelf.
The SBS cartons are offset printed in six colors plus a spot varnish. A small tin—available in 56 colorful designs—is offered for discreet transport of the product in a purse or backpack. A small “U” in the corner of the reusable tin is the only clue to its contents.
U by Kotex launched last year with support from an integrated marketing campaign that included targeted print, TV and online advertising, online communications, extensive consumer sampling and retail in-store support. Point-of-purchase displays primarily target teenagers and young women, and a new “Ban the Bland” campaign launched in April 2011 asks them to design maxi pads.
Sunshine state welcomes party in a pouch
Ready-to-drink cocktails in 200ml aluminum pouches are starting to make waves in Florida, thanks to the launch of Gasolina Urban Blends. Developed by Pan American properties, a leading Puerto Rican food and beverage company, the innovative packaging comes with a straw in the package, making it ideal for outdoor consumption.
Gasolina is available in six flavors with varying alcohol content (7.5 percent to 11 percent) and is sold individually or in convenient 5-packs at selected liquor stores and bars.
The package’s portability and ease of use are reflected in the brand’s tagline, Party in a Pouch, and promoted through print ads that show consumers enjoying the beverage in locations such as tailgate parties, nightclubs and the beach. The marketing strategy also includes an extensive off- and on-premises tasting program in key outdoor events in Miami, Gainesville, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Panama City and other markets. The marketing and creative campaign was developed and is being executed by Miami-based Agency C-Com Group Inc.
Get in The Brand Zone
Innovative packaging is an effective, powerful path to break through the sea of choices consumers face and distinguish a brand at the point of sale. Brand owners who are looking for that breakthrough need only look to The Brand Zone at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2011.
The Brand Zone will feature more than 150 exhibitors providing attendees with opportunities to create the next great packaging innovation — whether they’re looking for stand-out materials and containers, or ingenious labeling and decorating concepts.
Beyond the aisles of The Brand Zone, the over 1,200 exhibitors at PACK EXPO Las Vegas will provide brand owners critical tools for speeding time-to-market and increasing chances for success. By showcasing all of these solutions under one roof, PACK EXPO Las Vegas makes it easy for attendees to examine how advanced materials and machinery can work in concert together. This approach has a strong impact on the bottom line and enables brands to stay competitive in today’s – and tomorrow’s – marketplace.
PMMI is a trade association of 560-plus member companies that manufacture packaging, processing and related converting machinery in the United States or Canada; machinery components and packaging containers and materials. PMMI’s vision is to be the leading global resource for packaging, and its mission is to improve and promote members' abilities to meet the needs of their customers.
PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, PACK EXPO Las Vegas and EXPO PACK México, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: EXPO PACK México at Mexico City’s Centro Banamex, June 21–24, 2011, and PACK EXPO Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center Sept. 26–28, 2011.