Visual Impact

June 8, 2009

With sales slumping in most sectors, it might be more important than ever to have packaging that communicates with consumers and helps your product stand apart from the competition.

Curls LLC's repackaged line, which bows this summer, has more visual impact.

Visual Impact

With sales slumping in most sectors, it might be more important than ever to have packaging that communicates with consumers and helps your product stand apart from the competition.

Christine Esposito
Associate Editor

Now that Kelly Consumer is focused on savings, she’s less likely to make those impulse purchases marketers love. In the HBA aisle, she’s a girl on a mission to get what she came for—and only what she came for. But there’s one thing that might grab her attention:great packaging.

In today’s complicated economic times, packaging that communicates well and helps your brand stand apart on the shelf is critical. Of course, packaging must be functional, but it also needs to “stimulate product trial and repurchase rates and stop the consumers at the point of sale, right in their tracks,” said Norbert de Jong, worldwide marketing director, Rexam Personal Care Packaging. “A product has to ‘prove itself worthy’ of purchase, in a sense.”

According to Thomas Jonas, president of personal care and beauty at MWV, current market conditions call for a greater levelof visual differentiation that will attract consumers who are holding tight to their purse strings. “While innovation has always been a need in the beauty category, the need for newness is even stronger than ever,” he told Happi.

Curls, LLC has heeded that message. The Elk Grove, CA-based hair care manufacturer has shed its “very safe and neutral” packaging for a “look as refreshing and appealing as the contents of our customers,” according to Mahisha Dellinger, founder and chief executive officer.“We wanted to up the ante and spark a little curiosity in our potential customers’ mind as they peruse endless rows of hair care products.”

This summer the company unveils its new “Curltini” themed packaging, which has a cocktail feel that works well with the regime used by curly haired women and the brand’s message of hydrating dry, thirsty curls. “The term ‘cocktail’ has been used for years in our community,” said Ms. Dellinger. “Curly girls tend to use two-plus products cocktailed together to create their perfect blend.”

Ms. Dellinger, with the help of her graphic designer, created the more colorful, beverage-inspired look using stock components, including pumps from McKernan Packaging, which gave the shampoo, conditioner and styler bottles a new level of functionality Curls’ customers had requested.

Repackaging an entire line can be a complicated task, but sometimes it is a necessity, especially if a brand has made piecemeal packaging decisions. Recently one well-known company came to World Wide Packaging (WWP) to pull together a more cohesive look. According to Barry Freda, president and chief executive officer of WWP, the client’s packaging had moved in many different directions.

“There was no real binder as to how it looked—a compact looked one way, a lipgloss another. They wanted to design a family that works together,” said Mr. Freda.

Enlisting the help of a packaging supplier early in a process can make the task easier, whether it is an entire line revamp or a single product. For example, a company may have a great vision, but only the keen eye of a savvy packaging supplier can bring that idea to fruition.

For Pucci Vivara’s six-colorclosure, Rexam used pad printing on a Surlyn curved cap.
Such was the situation at Avon, which turned to WWP to create the unique look ofits recently launched Anew Clinical Crow’s Feet Corrector. For this 2-in-1 product—which features a Gentle Micro Resurfacer for skin surrounding the eye and Crease Filler designed to help flatten out the look of crow’s feet—WWP designed unique applicators as well as tottles that can be taken apart and put back together in any fashion and the decoration is always visually correct.

Quality Remains Critical

Even when faced with a sluggish economy, packaging suppliers report that personal care marketers are still seeking quality components.

“We see an uncanny increase in demand, worldwide, for a better grade of packaging. At every price point, the consumer is looking for a certain level of sophistication in both function and form—combined with a value proposition in this era of global economic challenge,” said Mr. de Jong of Rexam.

In terms of function, airless continues to be one of the most in-demand technologies.

“The consumer has learned to appreciate the precise dosage, controlled application and preservation of the formulation through the life of the product,” according to Mr. de Jong. Rexam supplies airless technology such as the Prodigio airless dispenser to personal care marketers.

Pumping up the shelf appeal. MWV has made its Clikit IP pump available in a wider array of decorative finishes and high-end aesthetic coatings.
The surging popularity of airless comes at the expense of more traditional cream and lotion packaging.

“Airless is the fastest growing packaging type today, and there are some very good reasons why—the ease to dispense the formula, no contamination and prevention of oxidation. With these very strong assets, it will continue to take huge share away from jars,” said Mr. Jonas.

MWV’s airless technology features a rolling bellow system, a single part, 100% thermal plastic component that replaces at least four other parts as seen in conventional technologies.According to MWV, this system provides a true non-venting airless dispenser that is metal-free, has a minium number of components and can support low to high viscosity formulations. Available with an output of 0.4ml up to 1.5ml per actuation stroke, the system is featured in the company’s Luna and Pearl airless dispenser ranges.

Quality decoration is also on the rise and packaging suppliers are offering more techniques that can generate unique, customized looks.

For example, MWV has made its Clikit IP pump available in a wider array of decorative finishes and high-end aesthetic coatings—think iridescence, sparkle, soft touch, metalized lacquering—and custom printing of patterns or images through sublimation, according to the company.

“Differentiation is about customization,” said Mr. Jonas, adding that Clikit IP has the ability to elevate the cache of a product by giving the pump added luxury and unique feel.

The Power of Packaging

…To Bring Hope

P&G has recently unveiled new specially marked yellow cap bottles of Tide detergent from which 10¢ from every purchase has been earmarked to help families affected by disasters. The special bottles are part of the Tide
Loads of Hope program, which has provided free laundry service to families and relief workers for the past three years following major disasters, including Hurricane Katrina and the California wildfires. The bottles also feature a front label with a collage of the “faces of hope”—people who have persevered after experiencing the devastation of a natural disaster in their community.
“After three years of sharing in people’s efforts to rebuild after major storms like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ike, we’ve learned that the little things, like clean clothes, can make a big difference for those in need,” noted Suzanne Watson, Tide associate marketing director. “We are so excited to share the launch of this new bottle of Tide with consumers so they can be a part of this worthy cause to help families dealing with the sudden devastating effects of a natural disaster. With every purchase consumers can help make a difference.”

...Make ‘Em Blush

Urban Decay has always been edgy, and its Pocket Rocket Lip Gloss packaging, supplied by HCT, not only lives up to the company’s standards, it just might make you blush.
Pocket Rocket Lip Gloss features double-sided cap with a photo of one of eight (dressed) men, and with a flick of wrist, the men appear in their undies (thanks to lenticular printing technology). Plus, the nearly flat tube (which was designed to discreetly slip into a pocket) features special ink that releases scentless pheromones when rubbed.

…To Keep Track of Time

Women are notorious for buying multiple lipglosses in the same shade, which ultimately roll around in a pocketbook, glove compartment or desk
drawer forever. In reality, they should be replaced every nine months, according to beauty experts.
Cargo Cosmetics—always on the cutting edge of innovative packaging—has introduced new lipglosses featuring Timestrip technology from UK-based Timestrip, PLC. A tiny strip embedded in the cap of the gloss, Timestrip keeps track of how long the package has been open. Users insert the strip into the cap of the gloss to activate the system—a window will start turning red over the nine month period, and when it’s fully red, the gloss should be tossed, according to Cargo, which has incorporated the system in its Classic and Blu-ray lipgloss packages.
“Our packaging innovations are always centered around making it better, easier, or smarter for the consumer,” Hana Zalzal, founder of Cargo, told Happi. “For this gloss, we wanted to add value to the packaging by having it keep track of the freshness of the gloss.”
Creating an aura of luxury is a primary goal for a brand such as Emilio Pucci, which has worked with Rexam since the 2007 introduction of Pucci Vivara, a chypre-floral fragrance. To commemorate its 60th anniversary, the Italian fashion design house requested a six-color closure that would capture the panache of its signature scarf design. Rexam proposed an industry first: six-color pad printing applied to an internal Surlyn thick-wall, curved cap.

“Pad printing dramatically improves the visual aesthetics of the molding but the technical challenge was formidable: to obtain optimal visibility of six razor sharp colors, from any angle, and maintain superior depth and clarity while creating the magnifying effect,” said Mr. de Jong. “Further, the use of direct pad printing on the spherical interior surface facilitates the magnifying effect expected by Pucci,” he noted.

Rexam’s Center of Excellence in Simandre, France molded the clear, thick-wall Surlyn shape with an inside curve free of sink marks, which allowed perfect application of the decoration, noted Mr. de Jong.

“Use of specially shaped silicon pads and screens, for each of six inks, resulted in pinpoint positioning of each color, for a flawless rendition.” According to Mr. de Jong, the next addition to the Vivara line is in the works.

The Green Scene

Greener components are also in demand as brands develop products and packaging that have less impact on the environment.

Nautica Fragrances has launched Nautica Oceans, its first environmentally-friendly fragrance. The aromatic-aquatic men’s scent has a water-based formulation as well as environmentally-conscious packaging—an outer carton made from 30% post consumer recycled fibers and manufactured using wind power in a carbon neutral facility. The 100% recyclable carton, which features an authentic silver embossed porthole that shows the bottle inside, carries the NewWind Energy, Carbon Neutral and Sustainable Forestry Initiative certifications, according to Coty.

With steady interest in green, more environmentally responsible components are at the ready. Brad-Pak, for example, has expanded its roster with new mini aluminum bottles. Available in 20-, 30-, 40- and 50ml sizes with screw or crimp style necks, these mini aluminum bottles are reusable and recyclable.

Being responsible and sustainable means eliminating waste throughout the entire production process, even in packaging. To that end, Mr. Jonas warned against taking a superficial, lowest cost approach to packaging. If a package lacks structural integrity or doesn’t promote graphics well, it could be damaged, crushed and ultimately unsellable.

“That is essentially waste,” he added.

As a company with a long standing tradition of being green, Aveda’s limited edition Light the Wax soy wax candle put otherwise wasted material to good use. Sold during the month of April to raise funds and awareness for clean water rights across the globe, the candle—made with 100% EcoCert certified organic ingredients—featured a 95% post-consumer recycled (PCR) glass and an outer carton printed with soy ink on 100% recycled “make-readies”—sheets of carton stock previously used by Aveda to prepare its printing press.

At the end of the day, whether your company’s goal is environmental or functional (or both), there’s one thing your packaging should never be: boring.

“It’s always a shame when a brand chooses a safe, bland solution that fails to connect with the consumer,” said Mr. de Jong. “With the right global, technologically advanced supplier, exciting packaging solutions can be developed that both build the brand and deliver exceptional ROI.”

Packaging That Keeps Kids Healthy

Parents (and teachers) can attest: getting kids to wash their hands properly is a daily battle. And with the H1N1 virus (a.k.a. Swine flu) still making headlines in the U.S., the importance of proper hand hygiene has come to the forefront once again. The trouble has always been getting kids to wash their hands for the proper amount of time.
Soap Labs LLC’s Soaprise may be the answer. The bottle lights up 15 seconds after the soap is dispensed—the amount of time advised by the Centers for Disease Control to effectively kill germs that cause illness—which can help kids stay at the sink long enough.

Each clear bottle has small, battery-powered LEDs in the base, and when pump is depressed, the force activates a small switch to turn on the lights. The clear liquid soap disperses the light to illuminate the entire bottle, according to Russ Stilley of Soap Labs. The electronic base is held onto the bottle with the heat shrink sleeve label, and since the battery’s life can last longer than the soap, Soap Labs offers 30.9oz. refills.

The Allen, TX-based company has applied for several worldwide patents for its light up bottle and plans to exploit those “patents in a wide variety of personal care products, with a foaming hand soap being the first,” Mr. Stilley said.
Soaprise is currently available at Duane Reade, Pathmark, A&P, Amazon.com and Drugstore.com.