Innovative, market-savvy packaging is a key component of brand success. Advanced packaging technologies that can help brands achieve significant impact on retail shelves will once again create excitement at Pack Expo Las Vegas, September 26-28 2005 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Pack Expo Las Vegas offers the best chance this year to explore and evaluate packaging innovations that give brands greater muscle and flair at point-of-sale. Pack Expo is sponsored by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI) and co-located with the Food Processing Machinery EXPO.
Shrink sleeves enhance shelf presence
An increasing number of designers are turning to shrink sleeve labels to adorn innovatively shaped containers. Labels are pulled over containers by sleeving machines, and provide a looser fit than stretch labels. A second heat shrinking process causes the label to mold itself to the shape of the container. PVC and PET are the two most common materials for shrink sleeves; and while PET is a bit more expensive, the material offers higher gloss and shrink characteristics.
With the ability to showcase graphics around the entire container, shrink-sleeve labels turn food and beverage containers into billboards for improved product marketing. Gravure and flexo printing processes result in bold backgrounds and colorful, high-impact images. To accommodate unusual or irregular contours of containers, label text and graphics are pre-distorted in such a manner that after shrinking, the finished result cannot be distinguished from a directly printed container.
When California-based personal care products company Synergy Body Care Inc. wanted to dress-up its new Swanky Girl line of body moisturizers, bath gels, and tanning creams, it decided on shrink sleeves to spruce up its packaging. Swanky Girl achieved distinctive packaging with square-shaped, narrow-neck bottles, decorated with 360-degree, 8-color rotogravure-printed shrink sleeves. Synergy went with a polypropylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) sleeve rather than a more traditional PVC structure. The high density, high strength film has excellent clarity, and offers high shrinkage capability (75-80%) that easily accommodates the various widths of the Swanky Girl containers.
Pennzoil-Quaker State Oil, Houston, TX, gave its Black Magic car care brand a premium, contemporary look with vibrant red, black and silver full-body shrink sleeves. The new packaging created retail excitement for Black Magic's line of cleaning, detailing and waxing products. Multiple trials were performed to develop a proprietary blended film structure and heat tunnel design best suited for the new 8-color rotogravure labels.
A preference for portability
Shifts in consumer attitudes and behaviors have created strong demand for designers and marketers to provide products that offer added convenience. Examples of packaging convenience include single serve packages, portable and on the go packaging, easy-open and reclosable packaging, and packaging kits. A very successful example of enhanced portable packaging is Wild Gamekeeper Spray from Hunter's Specialties of Cedar Rapids, IA. The unique product is formulated to prevent bacterial growth on just-harvested game carcasses. When the company wanted to capture greater shelf impact, it decided on unique flexible pouches featuring convenient trigger spray dispensers.
The new pouch packaging is purchase-attractive for hunters because it is flat, easy to transport and durable. Another package design criterion was the capability for peg-hook point-of-purchase display to deliver increased shelf facings and optimum brand billboarding.
Resealable zipper technology is gaining popularity over adhesive closures on many lay-flat and stand-up pouches by offering the benefits of portability and convenience. Consumers often find that wet wipe sheets dry out after sticker closures are improperly sealed, and zippered pouches keep sheets moist longer. Ensuring complete pouch closure after each use, zippers protect moisture-saturated sheets from the drying effects of frequent exposure to oxygen. Slider zipper technology is often the zipper of choice, as it enables convenient opening and closing for every member of the family.
Packaging that can resist tampering as well as create high visual appeal can be achieved with a bit of creativity. Baseball card marketer Topps Co., Inc., New York, NY, selected BlisterGuard® packaging from Colbert Packaging, Lake Forest, IL, to maximize high-end collectible card protection and enhance sales. The specially engineered packaging incorporates Everest® Safe-Pak fold-over, heat-sealable, tear-resistant bleached board, laminated with multi-layer, 3-mil film. The packaging creates high visual appeal as well as outstanding tamper resistance at a substantially lower cost than many clamshell alternatives.
To elevate brand profiles and pump up sales, packagers of diverse products can work with packaging suppliers to develop innovative container concepts. Pack Expo Las Vegas will offer a wide range of brand-building possibilities offered by various packaging approaches.