May 18

The Open Corrugated Box

Posted by Packaging Sense in Bottles | Design | Uncategorized

Creative packaging is one of the most efficient way to promote a product. Very often the creativity comes from “thinking outside the box”. Here is an example of such a creative thinking, making a corrugated box more unique.

The Glenrothes whiskies (there are several different ones) all have the most unique package design in the whole category as they use:

  • • an open pack;
  • • a 4-layer corrugated board;
  • • no enhancing colours or gold.

There is today a clear trend towards see-through packaging, i.e. the use of a transparent plastic window or just an opening on a cardboard or metal package.

This trend which comes from Japan is here to stay as consumers want to see what they buy. Another trend is what we call “sleeve packaging”, i.e. a wrap-around on e.g. a pot of yoghurt. A third trend is to go “back to basics”, i.e. communicate a non-industrial product through typography, material and/or shape.

The Glenrothes whiskies do all of the above and have therefore created something so unique that few can copy it although the Russian vodka Marussya and the Aalborg Aquavit Christmas edition have come quite close to it.

What we can learn from this unique package design is that it

  • • is possible to touch the product;
  • • it is possible to see the exact colour of the product;
  • • a squat bottle expresses better strength than a slender shape;
  • • the 4-layer corrugated board gives an image of great protection;
  • • a handle will always invite to take the product/package;
  • • a small label expresses uniqueness;
  • • the small label has hand-written text, year of production, date, signatures, etc. which all contribute to autenticity;
  • • the glass bottle has the brand embossed in the glass which adds quality;
  • • the square shape is the best from a logistic point-of-view.

So when you next time wish to buy a Scottish single malt whiskey, why not choose Glenrothes Speyside, the most unique corrugated box ever made?

Apr 23

My three best bottles

Posted by Packaging Sense in Bottles | Design | Featured | Uncategorized

They are S. Pellegrino, Tabasco and Maggi Aroma (1920 edition) as we have a lot to learn from them. Unfortunately the Maggi bottle has today lost its uniqueness, while the other two bottles are still going strong.

S. Pellegrino
The attentive reader will no doubt notice that in order to save space as it is a long word, “San” has been abbreviated to a simple “S.”. S. Pellegrino is an excellent proof that it is not necessary to have a unique shape when the label has personality. The reason why S. Pellegrino is such a successful water is first of all due to the balanced carbonation and taste. Not too sparkling (as e.g. Perrier) nor too little (as e.g. Badoit). The brand has also never been mis-handled and the positioning as the preferred Italian water has been extremely well communicated in advertising. This being said, it is no doubt the expression of the label as the expert with tradition that has cemented this brand in people’s minds.

I have repeatedly criticized most recent label designs of being not enough unique and having no own style. The S. Pellegrino style communicates what is important for a mineral water, i.e. expertise and seriousness through lots of figures, foundation date 1899 as well as some key words such as “terme”, “frizzante”, “naturale”.

The main label (there are four of them) looks like a value paper (cheque, credit card or bank note) thanks to the background pattern. Other typical signs of value are the logotype subdued as a watermark in the background, the red star and the typeface chosen for the brand.

It is not a hinder that most of the text is not very legible (as on value papers) as consumers anyhow do not read the type of information there is on mineral water labels.

Maggi Würze
There are two reasons why this bottle has become my favourite. Firstly thanks to its unique shape which in my opinion is not particularly harmonious and well balanced, but as mentioned above, unique.

However, the real reason why I like it is that the label goes around three sides. None of today’s labels give texts so interesting and of such common sense. Here it is:

Brand:  unique script logotype. One can wonder why it was changed! The text reads: Our Maggi brand, as well as the star, are registered and therefore protected.

Reason-to-buy (RTB):

  • in every kitchen
  • is unequalled
  • is unique

Quality statement: guaranteed pure and top quality. Confirmed on several occasions by the Supreme Court of the German Federal Republic. Nobile quia optimum (known because the best). Who would use Latin today to enhance a product?

Cross advertising: Other product from the Maggi Company: Maggi bouillon cubes and Maggi soups.

Directions for use:  Maggi aroma is very rich; use it sparingly. It is unneccessary to season every soup and every dish; only neutral-tasting soups and dishes need seasoning and this merely gto enhance their own flavour. It is impossible to fix the necessary quantity of aroma to be added beforehand – simply sample it several times. On no account must Maggi aroma be overpowering. Do not cook Maggi aroma – add it just before serving.

Control analysis: Specific gravity 1.264 – 1.274; Dehydrated substance approx. 49%; Mineral substances and various nutritive salts respectively approx. 19%.

The illustration shows a recent re-print which has been simplified.

This bottle is more than a bottle as the producers in Louisiana have well understood how to communicate with their consumers. The extra cost of a carton does a fantastic job, far better than advertising in TV or the press.

The bottle itself radiates tradition, quality and taste through its simple 2-colour quadrangular label. The aluminized green neck label together with a tamper-proof shrinkwrap adds a safety feeling.

The cardboard box tells a great story:

FRONT SIDE: Branding, i.e. the bottle.
BACK SIDE: three recipes.
LEFT SIDE: product story, i.e the aging in wooden casks.
RIGHT SIDE: product story, i.e. the strength of peppers.
If you add to this that you often find a small recipe brochure inside and a web-site and address where you can get

more FREE recipes, anybody will

understand that McIlhenny has done a great job. No doubt you will find this product in practically everysupermarket in the whole world.

Three great bottles in different categories and real success stories! One could add other examples like Absolut or CocaCola, but the reader knows certainly all about these icons already.

Apr 23


Posted by Packaging Sense in Bottles | Design | Uncategorized

The importance of a form that is unique, universal and up-to-date

When you think of shape design in the field of package design, bottles will undoubtly first come to mind. Be they plastic or glas, they no doubt will have an impact on point-of-sale as they mostly have unique shapes. Bottles don’t only have interesting shapes, they also have interesting content, Skål!

To win a consumer’s favour is a matter of staying ‘top-of-mind’ with your product. This can be done with unique and interesting advertising or point-of-sale material.

The best way, however, is to design your package in such a way that it achieves an iconic shape. The advantage of having a unique, easy recognisable shape, be it in glass, metal, plastic or cardboard, is that you can constantly change colour, design, etc. in order to be noticed, i.e. top-of-mind.

There are a few brands on the European market that do this successfully and thus strengthen their identity as we, consumers are reminded of their existence. I have obviously no sales figures for any of these brands. Neither do I know if the special editions have increased sales. But what I know is that the cost of printing/producing a special edition has been considerably reduced the last years thanks to technology (flexo printing, sleeving, etc.);

by having a special edition on the shelves you stand out and are thus noticed;

a special edition receives quite a lot of ‘free advertising’ thanks to articles in the press or TV/radio coverage when launched.

Krafft Foods’ Toblerone brand has taken this idea further than anyone else. They know that as long as they stick to the triangular shape, the yellow background and the personalized typography they

can issue special editions for Easter, Christmas, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc. The sleeve with the special design can, if the edition is not successful, easily be removed by the shop owner.

When Selfridges celebrated its Centenary they produced several yellow bottles (POP champagne, ABSOLUT and Coca-Cola) in their corporate colour, yellow. No doubt these bottles (very few ABSOLUT were produced!) will demand high prices after a few years. The EVIAN special edition bottles have already reached quite a level on eBay.

The master of special edition is obviously Coca-Cola, be it for Christmas (St. Claus is a Coca-Cola invention!) Selfridges, Olympics or the 250th Anniversary of Robert Burns in Scotland.

The great attraction of special editions was proven a few years ago when Unilever’s Marmite produced a special edition for St. Patrick’s Day with the flavour of Guinness. The quarter of a million jars were apparently sold out within a few hours.

How far can you go when your shape has become iconic? Well, ABSOLUT recently sold a special edition without branding, i.e. printing on the front of the bottle. That is to believe in yourself! Congratulations!

What can we learn from the above? That it is certainly worth the money to design your package/bottle in such a way that the shape can be protected, i.e. trademarked. Maybe the package will be more expensive to produce, but if well designed, your package becomes your advertising medium and where is the most efficient advertising if not in thestore/shop/boutique?

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