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Toy-in-package meets new markets

The venerable Sesame Street® characters have weathered storms of purple dinosaurs and Indian princesses to remain solid favorites among children. But when Minnetonka Brands introduced new Sesame Street Tearless Shampoo, the firm still had to design packaging to make the product stand out from the competition.

The Eden Prairie MN-based company's new "contain-a-collectible" concept is doing just that. "It's the Cracker Jack idea translated to personal care" says Larry Wilhelm president and CEO of Minnetonka Brands. The unique bottle features an inner cavity in which sits a Sesame Street figurine (shown in photo next to the company's bubble bath package). A clear pressure-sensitive label is then placed on the bottle covering the cavity. Dotted lines printed on the label frame the figurine and instructions explain how to remove it. Empak (Chanhassen MN) supplies the patented bottle which is injection blow-molded of high-density polyethylene. Tapemark (West St. Paul MN) provides the label made of 2-mil polypropylene and flexo-printed in six colors. However a switch to a shrinkwrap label is being considered as the current label can be easily peeled off making it an easy mark for pilferage. PP caps are provided by Polyseal (Baltimore MD). Introduced in February Minnetonka reports that the contain-a-collectible line has been successful. Characters are rotated every two or three months to add to their collectibility. Suggested retail price for a 14-oz bottle is $2.99. "We're very happy with it" says Wilhelm "and we're looking to extend the idea into other categories."

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