Household product manufacturer Lime-O-Sol gives its new products a distinctive dual-chambered bottle and a holographic label to gain market share.
By Marci Merola, Associate Editor
When Ashley IN-based Lime-O-Sol introduced additions to The Works® line of active enzyme products product and package differentiation were foremost in the company's marketing strategy. Introduced in March the products' sales to mass-merchandisers nationally and grocery stores in the Midwest have been slow but steady. Two new products in the three-product extension Compost Helper/Lawn Dethatcher and Drain Build-Up Remover compete with major brands for shelf space. Lime-O-Sol's selection of a 32-oz dual-chambered bottle and holographic label may give them the leverage they need. "Upwards of 90 percent of buyers have accepted it on the spot" says Dawn Blomeke product manager at Lime-O-Sol. "They're really intrigued. The bottle and label combination has been received very well." Point of difference Lime-O-Sol selected the Bettix(TM) dual-chambered bottle from Patrick Plastics (Ottawa OH) and Texberry Container (Houston TX). The high-density polyethylene bottle is extrusion blow-molded. It features two polypropylene child-resistant caps from Sunbeam Plastics (Evansville IN). One caps the filling chamber: the other cap on the measuring chamber is used by customers. "We chose this bottle as a point of difference" says Blomeke. "Competitive products are not very user-friendly. There's a lot of pouring and measuring. We thought if we could come up with a product that was easy for the customer to use it would be to our benefit." To dispense the product a consumer simply squeezes the center panels of the bottle. Product is pushed up through a tube on the end of the package that looks and acts much like a molded drinking straw. When the liquid reaches a particular fill height indicated in ounces molded in the graduated measuring cup the product is ready to use. The drain product is used as-is. The compost product is diluted in water. On the opposite side a graduated scale shows the user how much product is left in the bottle. If a bottle unique to the category wasn't enough Lime-O-Sol chose a holographic label to draw more attention to the package. "We don't spend money on national television advertising campaigns" says Blomeke. "So we needed something over and above the bottle to catch the eye of the consumer." Graphic concepts were initiated by Lime-O-Sol and the graphics div. of Contemporary Image Labeling (Mainville OH) completed the design job. Spectratech (Los Angeles CA) begins with 2-mil polyester which has an acrylic top coat that acts as a primer for the ink. The back of the polyester is holographically embossed. It's then metallized via vacuum deposition to reflect the hologram. That structure is coated with a water-based permanent acrylic adhesive. A 50-lb silicone coated paper carrier is then applied-and then peeled away from the label at the time of labeling. Rolls are sent to Contemporary Image where they're flexo-printed in six colors. A 1-mil polyester lamination is applied over the ink. "Nobody else in the category has anything like this" continues Blomeke. At the plant First bottles are labeled off-line and kept in stock for filling. Depending on the success of the new products in-line labelers may be installed. To avoid any possible contamination of the enzyme-based products the physical operation is kept isolated from the rest of the plant. Using a hand capper to adjust the torque a cap is first applied to the smaller chamber to prevent the force of the flow from filling the small chamber first and overflowing. Next bottles are conveyed into a 12-head filler. After filling the second cap is applied. For the buildup remover a neckband is placed around the bottle neck before manual packing into cases of six. Using three to four people Lime-O-Sol packs about 750 to 800 cases daily. Justifying costs "This bottle is more expensive than a regular bottle" Blomeke notes "but we think this is a premium product. Even in that bottle our products priced between $4.50 and $5.00 allow us to come out very well and at the same time offer the customer something more user-friendly. "Our competition is priced up near the $6.50 and $7.00 range. In a nutshell everyone else's retail price allows us to use this package."