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Shelf Impact! Anne Marie Mohan
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September 9, 2011
In This Issue

thumb Cost reduction as a ticket to innovation

Innovation that helps drive sales and profits can actually come with low risk.

thumbPackage Gallery

Mountain Dew gets brand-specific bottle

Anne Marie Mohan, Editor

Mountain Dew has broken from the PepsiCo pack, reenergized with a distinctive, new PET bottle design that more fittingly meets the brand's promise of "a robust spirit of fun, exuberance, and refreshment." That's according to Stuart Leslie, president of 4sight inc., the structural design firm that closely collaborated with PepsiCo to create an ownable brand equity for the 70-plus year-old citrus-flavored soda that today is associated with a hip, sporty lifestyle.

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For years, Mountain Dew shared the same 20-oz PET bottle design as almost all of PepsiCo's other beverage brands, a packaging platform that most likely developed due to manufacturing efficiency, Leslie surmises. "But PepsiCo knew that there were certain brands that were really dying for a more appropriate bottle that would help reinforce the brand better," he says. "Mountain Dew was on the top of the list." The process of creating a distinctive bottle structure for Mountain Dew was rife with challenges, not the least of which was meeting the operational requirements of countless local PepsiCo bottlers. But the close collaboration between 4sight and PepsiCo allowed long-held operational beliefs to be challenged, and design innovation flourished.

Operational breadth lends design complexity

As Leslie explains, a typical beverage client for his design firm may have two or three manufacturing plants, with a couple of filling lines in each facility. "The world of the sodas—the Pepsi's and the Coke's—grew up much differently," he explains. "They grew up with these very local bottlers and distribution centers. So they have hundreds of bottlers. Each one of these is a plant, and each one has a number of lines that, over the years, they have set up to their preferences. "Therefore, the biggest challenge we had [in creating the new Mountain Dew bottle] was working within this very complex infrastructure that is very difficult to even get your mind around."

Read the full article

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INTELLIGENCE ON DESIGN

Cost reduction as a ticket to innovation

By Stuart Leslie, President, 4sight inc.

Innovation that helps drive sales and profits can actually come with low risk.
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By using cost reduction as a catalyst, my firm has been able to turn "projects" into new "products," for the simple reason that it's easier for an organization to get behind this type of innovation and make it a reality. Constantly with an eye toward driving sales, we've developed a methodology for achieving a unique package design that positively impacts consumers' interaction with a product and builds profits at the same time. This approach—I call it "cost-reduction as a ticket to innovation"—serves as both a viable creative strategy and a business solution aimed at realizing measurable sales growth.

Key to the success of this approach is for consumers to see the innovation as transformational.

The formula is as follows: Revolutionize the product; maximize the consumer experience with an innovation they value; reduce manufacturing costs; and increase sales. It's good business sense from every angle.

One of the new products my firm recently worked on shows how this creative business approach works. A new single-serve Heinz ketchup packet that allows consumers to both dip and squeeze, depending on their preference, holds three times more ketchup than the standard packet, meaning consumers use fewer packets, and retailers/restaurants save money.

Some innovations can be so powerful that when consumers perceive more value in a revamped package design, they'll pay more for the product.

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Innovation trumps imitation

Marianne Rosner Klimchuk, Associate Chairperson, Associate Professor, Packaging Design Dept., Fashion Institute of Technology

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The Paramount Farms suit filed against Walgreens' PL Pistachio packaging claiming trademark infringement and unfair competition is intriguing to say the least. The complaint states that the Walgreens pistachio packaging is wrongfully using "fonts, font colors, window curvature and packaging dress" similar to what's found on the packaging of Paramount's own Wonderful brand pistachios.

Although there is no surefire way to protect design rights, the Trade Dress Protection Act (amended from the Trademark Act of 1946 states that trade dress functioning as a mark may be registered and protected without the need to show that it has become distinctive if the relevant public is likely to identify the source of the product or service by reference to the subject matter claimed as trade dress. In fact, a 1995 Supreme Court Case stated that under the right circumstances, trade dress that consists purely and simply of a color can be protected. The burden of proof on the functionality, distinctiveness, and likelihood of confusion of color is challenging since the interpretation of standards are not clear-cut. Therefore, the outcomes of trademark cases vary from circuit court to circuit court.

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How does trade—dress infringement—or perhaps we should say "alleged" trade dress infringement—happen? In the Paramount vs. Walgreens case, it's likely that Walgreens' use of color was directly influenced or inspired by Paramount's design. Packaging designers are often directed by marketers to model their design from the category leader. It's common practice to have the category leader's packaging on display in the studio while designing for a competitor.

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Package Gallery

A closer look at the newest trends in today's packaging.

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Color and shape define organic superfruit wine label design

Neon-like splashes of color in an organic design bring a celebratory air to packaging for a new wine brand from The Eppa Wine Company, Coral Gables, FL. New Eppa SuperFruit Sangria in Red and White varieties is a mix of high-quality ingredients, including Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah wines made from organically grown grapes and a juice blend of organic pomegranate, acai, blueberry, and blood orange.

In March 2010, Spring Design Partners was selected to define the brand name, position the product, and create the visual presentation for Eppa SuperFruit Sangria. Says Spring Design president and executive creative director Ron Wong, "Our strategy was to leverage color and shape to communicate the key consumer benefits: celebration and living well."

Packaging is a stock, green, 750-mL glass wine bottle from Vitro Glass Company, decorated with a pressure-sensitive label six color-printed with brilliant splashes of color by Spear, Inc. "We chose vibrant, luscious colors to telegraph amazing taste and then put those colors in festive, overlapping organic shapes that seem to dance around the bottle," says Wong. "The resulting design telegraphs the feeling of entertaining and having a great time with friends."

Complementary colors are also used for the lowercase Eppa logotype and for front-panel product copy. Bottles are topped with red and green shrink labels for Red and White varieties, respectively.

After a lengthy organic certification process, Eppa SuperFruit Red Sangria was launched in Florida in August. Broad distribution is expected in September. Says Eppa managing partner John Gomez, "Consumers are consistently impressed with the packaging and the taste. They see the packaging as captivating and communicative of a contemporary and high-quality product that suggests fun and style. The colors and graphics also signal fruit, freshness, and vibrancy. It really pops off the shelf relative to the competitive wine set."

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Social media input energizes Verve Energy Drink packaging redesign

Scottsdale, AZ-based Vemma Nutrition Company's core mission involves empowering people to improve their wellbeing. Recently, the company enlisted its 23,000-plus Facebook followers to help the company redesign its energy beverage packaging as part of a rebranding effort.

Vemma's Verve Energy Drink has sold 24 million cans since its U.S. launch four years ago. "Verve has been an extremely popular and exciting brand for Vemma," says Mark Patterson, the company's vice president of marketing and brand development. "However, in the young and dynamic energy drink category, we feel it's important that the brand visuals are full of life and maintain a fresh, modern look. We thought it was time to give Verve a jolt of excitement by updating the packaging."

Verve is sold in multipacks containing 8.4-oz (250-mL) two-piece aluminum cans supplied by Ball. The filling process is considered proprietary, but the redesign did not require new filling equipment or change the packaging process.

The use of social media, however, is what makes Vemma's redesign process so unusual. Explains Patterson, "Brand partners are our main distribution channel, so it's very important that they are excited about representing Verve. To build excitement and investment in the brand, we actively involved our brand partners in the redesign process. We have a large social media network that we were able to tap into to gather feedback on [various] design concepts. We surveyed our 23,500 Facebook fan page followers to determine which designs resonated best with those who use and represent Verve products. Through this social media network we were able to gain valuable insight and ultimately choose a design that represents the vitality of the brand and those who represent it."

Patterson points out that the rebranding for the can includes new graphics, brighter colors, and the use of more white space. He says, "The graphic design and color theme exude the health and energy of the Verve brand. The predominantly white label design stands out from other energy products in the marketplace, which are typically dark with busy graphics. The incorporation of the vivid orange Verve logo and silver metallic accents impart a high-quality and energetic look to the label design. Overall, the design conveys a bright, fresh, and healthy look."

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Winnie the Pooh makes splash in HDPE bottles

Answers.com reports that it was 1926 when the Winnie the Pooh character first appeared in a collection of stories. Attesting to the ongoing popularity of the beloved Disney bear is a newly launched line of natural infant toiletries marketed in extrusion/blow-molded bottles from TricorBraun.

New Windsor Brands, LLC, Princeton, NJ, launched a line of baby wash, shampoo, and lotion in a 15-oz custom-designed high-density polyethylene oval bottle with a pinched waist. The bottles employ anti-slip characteristics and are decorated with an in-mold label, both of which ease bottle handling when bathing babies. The labels are provided by Yupo. TricorBraun also supplies the injection-molded polypropylene closures, which include a disc-top cap for shampoo and pump for lotion.

The line includes three shampoo, three wash, and three lotion SKUs, in three fragrances (powder fresh, lavender, and chamomile) and fragrance-free, all filled by a contract manufacturer in Florida. New Windsor Brands co-branded the Winnie the Pooh line with Daily Renewal, a brand it acquired from Procter & Gamble in 2009.

"TricorBraun has been a tremendous partner to us," says Ved Singh, president of New Windsor Brands. "They are a global company, and we are open to global trends. The white bottle and graphics are attractive, and Winnie the Pooh is a much-sought character. TricorBraun helped us develop a pack that is easy to handle in wet environments so it's also functional."

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