When Chicago-based Gatorade Co. a unit of Quaker Oats developed its new ribbed drink mix container to spur sales it wanted a label that would best show off the ribbed design. Quaker and its contract manufacturer/packager Power Packaging (St. Charles IL) learned that shrink sleeve applicating equipment wouldn't be fast enough to satisfy production demands. So the companies turned to a unique combination of wraparound/shrink labels from CMS Gilbreth (Trevose PA). That solution provides the look and tamper-evidence of a shrink sleeve with the high line speeds of a wraparound labeler. Launched in April (see PW June '96 p. 83) the 18.4-oz high-density polyethylene container from Liquid Container (West Chicago IL) replaces a composite can. The container is extrusion blown from Chevron's (Houston TX) 9416 homopolymer resin to replicate the look of Gatorade's famous sidelines cooler often seen at pro sporting events. Thanks to that cooler "we have instant recognition by consumers for this package" says Jeff Marsh assistant brand manager for Quaker Oats Beverages North America. The package is topped by a white polypropylene screw cap from White Cap (Downers Grove IL) that's injection-molded to look like the top of the sidelines cooler. The label consists of oriented polypropylene that's flexo-printed in six colors. CMS reverse-prints a 1-mil OPP web and then laminates it to a clear 1-mil OPP web to "bury" the ink in between for abrasion protection. "This is one of their basic structures" says Tracy Guard associate scientist packaging R&D for Quaker Oats Worldwide Beverages. "There's nothing unique about it." Still even with the extra laminating step and the additional cost of the adhesive required for the labeler Quaker Oats confirms that shrink OPP labels are actually less expensive than PVC sleeves for this application. However there is a trade-off according to Dan Williams new business development manager at CMS Gilbreth: "With PVC you can get nice-looking shrink quality-every container will look exactly the same. With an oriented polypropylene wraparound label there will be small variations but there are tremendous cost savings." He also points out that there's a visible glue seam with the wraparound label. "We offered Quaker Oats both options." The wraparound label ultimately was selected but it was not without its difficulties. The ribs on the container make it a challenge to guide the label onto the container. The perforation required some experimentation as well-the film needs to be cut in a precise manner to enable the cap to release at the desired torque when it's removed. From a graphic design standpoint part of the challenge was to keep label graphics to a minimum to expose as much of the ribs as possible. "The trade-off is flavor differentiation" says Quaker's Marsh. Each of the seven different flavors is differentiated by a colored band and copy at the top. "If not for the ribs we might have been more aggressive in alerting which flavor is which."