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HP Indigo collaborates with Coca-Cola India

120+ million labels have been created in 12 languages: English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese, Gujarati, Punjabi and Marathi

More than 120 million Coke labels were printed using an HP Indigo 20000 digital press at Huhtamaki PPL in Mumbai

HP Indigo has collaborated with Coca-Cola to bring the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign to India.

Coke cans and bottles are made available with 20 special relationships printed on them, including Bae, Bro, Dude, BFF, Dad, Mom, Daughter, among others. Labels have been created in 12 languages: English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bengali, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese, Gujarati, Punjabi and Marathi.

Each relationship is accompanied by a description, such as Grandad (Old School. Yet Cool); Grandma (Scolds me. Spoils me); Daddy (My teacher. My friend); Mom (Above the rest. Simply the best); Son (My devil. My angel); Sis (Supermodel. Super role model); Bro (Troublemaker. Merrymaker); Boss (Pushes me. Promotes me); and nicknames including BFF (Laughs with me. Cries with me) and Bae (Bugs me. Hugs me).

More than 120 million labels were printed digitally using an HP Indigo 20000 digital press installed at Huhtamaki PPL in Mumbai. The Share a Coke campaign was technologically supported by HP Indigo digital printing.

Jay Bathija, director-Colas, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, says: ‘We are delighted to partner with HP for the Indian spin of Share a Coke campaign that takes a refreshing new look at relationships. This campaign aims to encourage Indian consumers to celebrate relationships that have evolved over the years and reignite them by creating a moment of happiness that comes from sharing a Coke.’

Amar Chhajed, president, labeling business at Huhtamaki PPL, says: ‘It is an advantage to have a sound customer with us as we made this significant investment. Bringing India’s first HP Indigo 20000 should be seen as Huhtamaki’s stepping stone into digital printing. And this investment into digital comes with a much bigger commitment and confidence.’

First HP Indigo 20000 in India

Commenting on the investment in the first HP Indigo 20000 digital label press in India, Chhajed says, ‘Huhtamaki PPL was constantly reviewing developments in digital printing with a close watch on new applications, web width and print cost, knowing that we are ready to invest at the right opportunity we get. Discussions with Coke started around October 2017. We decided to make the investment after we got a green light from Coke for this campaign. The whole process of internal approvals for ordering the machine and getting it installed at our Thane plant was completed in a matter of 60 to 70 days. The HP Indigo 20000 is the largest digital investment made by the group worldwide.’

The press arrived at Huhtamakai PPL’S plant towards the end of January 2018 and production started within two weeks.

Explaining the complexities of the Share a Coke label printing job, Chhajed says, ‘The variable data printing for the job comprised 32 relationships, 12 different languages, and five descriptors to each relationship, which summed up to 3,000 artworks getting printed simultaneously. Never before was such a large digital print run executed in this part of the world. Our labeling team including Pravin Gopal Krishnan, Prathistha and Arjun had their work clearly cut out to make sure every last detail was taken care of. They ensured that the seemingly impossible task was achieved as expected. HP partnered with us whole heartedly to ensure all our needs were met. With full support from HP, we were able to ensure a smooth execution of the project at hand. In the process, we learnt a lot from their global experts who regularly visited us during the installation and commissioning. Multiple teams worked tirelessly from Coke, HPPL and Redington to ensure no slippage in the execution. Support from strategic suppliers such as Cosmo Films and Michelman played an important role in ensuring non-stop production. The entire campaign took about 12 weeks to complete and was executed with clockwork precision, thanks to the efforts and dedication of our Thane plant team led by Suhael Perriera and ably supported by Pravin Mahajan.’

Elaborating on the lessons learned, A. Appadurai, country manager, HP Indigo Graphics Solutions Business, India, says: ‘It was a first experience for HP India to execute a project on this scale with the first HP Indigo 20000 installed in the country. Coke is a very demanding customer and with a small window of 75 days to print these labels, there was no scope for any mistake. So, we got a team of eight people from Israel who supported this project 24 hours. HP ran the press for a month, executing the project, while training the operators. Then Huhtamaki took over and completed the job. This project was unique for us as it was executed on a newly installed bigger format press which is the first installation in the country.’

Labels were finished with an overprint varnish to ensure smooth runnability on label applicators at different Coke plants. This was handled by Huhtamaki’s regular converting process.


One of the major challenges often discussed with personalized labels in India is logistics and supply chain. With more than 30 supply locations, transporting labels on such a scale was a logistic challenge. Chhajed credits the success to excellent planning and execution by HPPL’s logistic team. ‘We are regular suppliers to Coke since many years and already had enough experience in transporting normal labels to Coke plants all over the country. We used to supply labels from our plant in Hyderabad. These labels, however, were transported from the Thane plant which is better located for transporting labels to all Coke plants in India.

‘Digitally printed labels did pose a challenge due to its different packing as well as multiple SKUs to each location. The quantity was predefined and we had to ensure the right number of labels were sent out to each bottling plant. Packaging was done with extra care because these were personalized labels so not even a single label could go missing. Our team has done a great job in ensuring no major delays or any mix ups in the consignments.’

Further giving credit to HP India, he says, ‘To transport raw material such as printing inks in huge volume to cater to this project was also a challenge. HP ensured there was a regular inflow of all material and expertise required to ensure smooth execution. A campaign of this scale can only be made successful with good teamwork.’

Having completed this project, Huhtamaki is looking at working on more similar projects in the near future, thus driving the personalization trend in the country.

Appadurai adds: ‘The campaign comes at a time when brands are increasingly focusing on targeted marketing campaigns to engage with customers on a personal level and this has resulted in the rise of customization and personalization. The changing tastes of consumers in packaging of goods has the potential to chip away market share of brands as customers value packaging with a personalized touch which adds to the overall emotional quotient of the customer.’

Michael Boyle, vice president, Graphics Solutions Business, Asia Pacific and Japan, HP, concludes: ‘As brands continue to look for ways to connect with their audiences, we are seeing a growing trend of mass personalized packaging, including desktop label printing campaigns in stores. The HP Indigo 20000 opens a realm of possibilities for flexible packaging converters, by enabling them to efficiently and profitably cope with changing market demands for shorter runs, more varied SKUs, and customized campaigns. HP Indigo is the only digital color printing process that matches gravure quality and is safe for primary food packaging.’


Aakriti Agarwal is India and Southeast Asia editor for Labels & Labeling.

Aakriti has been India editor for a number of years, and editor of the online newsletter, Label News India.

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