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  • 05 Feb 2018

‘Personalized’ packaging showcased at brand museum

The Museum of Brands, Packaging & Advertising in London’s Notting Hill has launched a new exhibition series looking at different aspects of packaging innovation, starting with a look at how personalization is being used to engage consumers.

The display is put together by UK packaging innovation experts ThePackHub, and features examples of personalized packaging and one-of-a-kind pack versioning enabled by digital print technology. There is also a chance to order your own personalized pack via a special online portal at the Museum. 

‘ThePackHub is delighted to collaborate with the Museum of Brands on this exciting initiative,’ says managing director Paul Jenkins. ‘It’s great to see how many of the packaging designs of the past have influenced the evolution of packaging innovation in the present day.’ 

Karin Kihlberg, executive director at the museum, adds: ‘This new initiative and collaboration with PackHub marks an exciting time for the museum. Our permanent exhibits shows technological developments and how packaging has evolved from Victorian times to the present day. This new evolving display will be continuously updated to capture the most innovating packaging being produced today as well as exploring cutting-edge technology in packaging innovation. The aim is to stimulate further debate on complex questions such as sustainability and how packaging is used by brand and marketing professionals to build business.’ 

Many of the examples on display will be familiar to regular L&L readers, but it is thought-provoking to see them together and compare different production, distribution and data capture models. The examples move from mass customization – where consumers pick up a randomized pack – to web portal-driven personalized promotions whose aim is as much data capture and creation of an online ‘buzz’ as the production and delivery of unique promotional items. 

Coca-Cola emerges as the most dynamic and innovative brand for embracing these possibilities. 

Examples at the museum include Coca-Cola’s well known Share-a-Coke labels, as well as the ‘March Madness’ promotion in the US, which saw the creation of custom college basketball team bottles in a limited edition format. Fans could customize and order single 8-oz glass bottles or six-packs featuring the logo, nickname or battle cry from more than 50 colleges and universities. The printer was Quality Tape & Label (QTL) using an HP Indigo 20000 digital press. 

The Diet Coke Extraordinary Collection is also shown, which used the HP SmartStream Mosaic platform and 23 base patter designs to deliver a unique experience to their consumers by printing two million one-of-a-kind shrink sleeve labeled bottles. The display notes that the bottles became collectables and customers had the chance to buy t-shirts, iPhone covers and shopping bags that also featured their unique pattern. 

Another shrink sleeve promotion which makes use of Mosaic is Planters Mr Peanut 100th birthday celebration, which transforms the classic Dry Roasted Mr Peanut jar into three million one-of-a-kind designs. The limited edition packaging features a dancing Mr Peanut amidst festive, eye catching fireworks in a multitude of colors and designs. 

Irn-Bru is another drinks brand to enthusiastically embrace digital print. Its ‘Made from Girders’ promotion features a series of retro labels displaying scenes from 30 years of advertising campaigns. The printer here was Amberley Labels, using an HP Indigo WS6600 digital press.

The same team produced the Your Clan promotion, which won a silver award in the 2015 UK Design Business Effectiveness awards. The campaign offered consumers 57 different labels, giving fans a chance to secure their own family tartan. During the three months labels were available, website traffic leapt by 185 percent and sales were 17 percent higher than the same period the previous year. 

Perhaps the most unusual and complex of the exhibits is the Mainichi News bottle. Mainichi News is a Japanese newspaper which worked with a mineral water company to engage millennials in rediscovering the value of newspapers. The ‘News Bottle’ format involved printing a different news story each day for a month on the water bottle labels, along with an augmented reality app which enabled consumers to connect with more news content online. Altogether 3,000 bottles per month per store were sold. The printer was Seikou Japan, which used an HP Indigo 20000 digital press. 

Marmite pushed into the ‘giftable’ sphere through a joint venture with tech company Intervino in 2015. Consumers visited the Marmite Facebook page and typed the name to appear on their Marmite jar. This data was captured by an app which allowed Intervino to execute the label rapidly and with seamless data capture. 

Nutella and Amarula are also featured in the museum display, and these have both been covered in the pages of L&L. 

Alongside the label promotional exhibits are examples showcasing different packaging materials. 

An example of customized folding cartons is provided by The Jelly Bean Factory, which created a series of 18 different packaging options designed to mark special occasion such as birthdays and anniversaries. Products were only available to consumers via an online page, and gifts were sent directly to a recipient with a personalized message. The printer was Digilinck using an HP Indigo 30000 digital press. 

Cartons and flexible packaging
Multi-pack cartons are featured in an Asahi promotion which celebrated the G7 summit taking place on ISE-Shima Island in Japan. A set of six limited edition ‘collectible’ pack formats were produced, each using iconic images from the island’s history. The pack designs were printed on an HP Indigo 10000 digital press by Sagasiki, with a total of pieces produced. Cartons are also the format for McVities Jaffa Cakes, which accompanied the launch of its new website with a bespoke pack service, again with customers entering a chosen word on the site with delivery direct to the recipient. 

Flexible packaging is represented by Mondelez International’s Colorfilled campaign for its Oreo holiday cookies, which L&L covered recently. After a successful launch in the Americas, the campaign was extended to the Asia-Pacific market, where Mondelez entered into a partnership with China’s Alibaba e-commerce group. Oreo cookies were sold in reusable customizable packaging with a price premium of 2-3x the regular pack price. This increased sales by 140 percent and introduced Chinese customers to buying personalized products online. 

Another flexible packaging example is Nestlé’s KitKat promotion, with the company giving away more than 56,000 personalized packs in a campaign produced by Ultimate Packaging using an HP Indigo 20000 digital press. The campaign is noted as a great example of the growing trend towards web-to-print personalization, with competition winners getting to personalize their chocolate packs with a photo or phrase, which they receive in a special presentation box. Stand-up pouches were used for the Cafe Franqueza Conscious Coffee promotion, designed to help promote the Ercus Foundation in Mexico in its campaign to ensure a fair deal for impoverished Mexican farmers. 

Personalization is shown as a route to promote even the longest established, apparently ‘non-giftable’ brands, as shown by the Vaseline exhibit. This year the company offered consumers the chance to personalize their own tins via an online portal. Customers enter any name, a short phrase and up to 11 characters and their bespoke pack is delivered to their home. This promotion is accompanied by the logo ‘Whose Name is on your Lips?’ – both helping to encourage gift purchases. 

Another long-established ‘static’ brand is HP Sauce, but in 2011 one million limited edition bottles were produced to raise awareness of ‘Movember’, the annual charity event for men’s health. This went hand in hand with a Facebook competition where participants posted photos of their newly grown moustaches. The owner of the most ‘Likes’ starred on the next sauce bottle label. The promotion ran until 2015. 

This is a very worthwhile visit for any readers visiting London. A particular strength is placing the well-chosen exhibits in the wider context of brands; attempts to engage ever more closely with the people who consumer their products.


Andy Thomas is strategic director of Labels & Labeling.

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