Using coupons to boost product sales is hardly revolutionary but Maybelline found a rather innovative way to incorporate 20 fanfolded coupons within blister packs of cosmetics. During a nationwide "Super Coupon Booklet" promotion that ran from October through December Memphis TN-based Maybelline sold 18 different cosmetic products in blister packs that trap the fanfolded coupons inside a foldover paperboard card. The consumer pulls the backing card along score lines and then extracts the coupons which unfold some 30 inches. The cosmetic product offerings themselves are not new though they were sold in special floor and counter displays during the three-month promotion. Within each cosmetic stockkeeping unit the coupons offer consumers approximately $80 of total savings on everything from a free facial and trial pair of contact lenses to magazine subscription discounts to savings on hair dryers mirrors pantyhose and personal care products. Participating companies include national brands such as Johnson & Johnson Bausch & Lomb Rubbermaid L'eggs SmithKline Beecham and Gillette. Maybelline enlisted Package Products Specialty Carton Division of Engraph (Charlotte NC) to develop the promotional blister cards. The companies codeveloped the first use of this coupon within a card concept that PPS refers to as the DataCard. "Our Marketing Department wanted to present consumers with a valuable product and cosmetic-related coupons that they could really use" notes Ken Vilag Maybelline manager of package engineering. He explains "We developed a multi- or cross-company promotion where we contacted a number of companies who were willing to offer discounts for their merchandise via our cosmetic products. We created a foldout coupon booklet that gives the consumer added value." Maybelline worked with Package Products to turn the marketing concept into a workable package structure. The challenge was to contain the coupons within two cards to prevent pilferage and use existing blister card sizes. "At the end of the program we wanted retailers to be able to move product from the displays directly onto our existing pegwalls and prevent product returns due to card size and compatibility" notes Vilag. From an equipment standpoint Maybelline designed the blister card packs so that only minor tooling modifications were necessary at its Little Rock AR packaging facility. Cosmetic conversion To produce the cards for Maybelline Package Products uses 14-pt SBS from Federal Paper Board. For traditional Maybelline® line items the converter offset prints the board in four colors; six colors for the Shades of You(TM) ethnic line. A violator on the front panel informs consumers: "Save over $80 plus a bonus with coupons inside this package." After printing Package Products pattern-applies a water-based heat-seal coating to card fronts and heat-resistant coating on card backs. Machinery automatically applies the pressure-sensitive adhesive-backed group of fanfolded coupons using a top sheet of clear polyethylene terephthalate which affixes the coupons to the backing structure. Mid America (Menasha WI) and Screen Graphics (Memphis TN) supply the coupons. Once coupons are applied the converter folds the card over the coupons then applies hot melt glue to the pre-scored and cut cards. The coating process is particularly important to Maybelline. "We're trying to apply indirect heat from the back of the card through the cards and coupon" explains Vilag. "That requires higher sealing temperatures and longer dwell times. In doing that the back of the card is exposed to a higher concentration of heat for a long period of time. Without heat-resistant coating you would scorch the card. So even though it reduces our sealing speeds it's a necessity." Proper application of the heat-resistant coating is also a must. "What was interesting in this structure is that normally when you create a blister card stock you flood-coat the whole sheet because it's the most economical way to do it" claims Vilag. "But because this was a folded card traditional coating would create sealing difficulties and possibly cause the cards to stick to the sealing heads. To avoid that the heat-resistant coating was pattern-applied." Maybelline thermoforms the majority of its own blisters using PVC rollstock in thicknesses believed to be 12-ga. "we use a water-clear grade of PVC" Vilag notes "because cosmetics represent a shade-driven business" (see PW March '94 p. 16). "The clearer we can make the packaging materials the truer the color representation we provide." In some instances Maybelline uses specially-cut blisters to allow consumers to open compacts in-store to see the actual shade. These blisters are supplied by Plastofilm Industries (Wheaton IL). "In-house thermoforming is economical for us but some blisters require sophisticated design and matched metal tooling so we purchase those preformed" says Vilag. At Maybelline's Little Rock plant the majority of cosmetic-containing blisters are surface-mounted to the front of the card. Liquid products in glass bottles are the exception. "For esthetic and functional reasons we trapped the blister between the cards." On these packs coupons are visible. By trapping the blister Maybelline also provides additional support for the heavier liquid bottles. The promotion included mascara eye liner brush/blush lipstick and powdered cosmetic products. The cosmetics were produced during September and October and shipped between October 3 and December 16. That makes it a bit premature to determine its ultimate retail success. However Vilag says "We feel the program has sold extremely well considering it was launched during the holiday sales season when it had to compete for retail space with many seasonal promotions as well as traditional lines. It's a new type of promotion for Maybelline and it offers consumers extremely high value."