To be fluid in seven languages and come to the rescue when someone is in trouble could be the calling card of a very handy renaissance man. In the case of Slime Tire Sealant, such were the requirements for a new label for a brand positioned as the Worldwide Leader In Tire Care™.
Manufactured in the U.S. by Accessories Marketing Inc., a San Luis Obispo, CA-based division of Illinois Tool Works Inc., Slime is a tire sealant for tube and tubeless tires for motorcycles, wheelbarrows, cars, trailers, trucks, SUVs, golf carts, ATVs, lawnmowers, and other end-use tires of similar size. Looking to grow its brand awareness in international markets, especially the expansive Western European Union, Accessories Marketing faced the challenge of trying to accommodate a region where seven different languages are spoken.
“Slime is not an intuitive product,” explains Megan Gurney-Hemme, Public Relations and Product Manager with Accessories Marketing. “We recommend different amounts of sealant for different applications. We want our customers to understand how to install our sealant properly so as to have the best experience by ensuring their tires are safe and properly cared for.”
The original pressure-sensitive film label was a 350-deg wraparound label holding a straw in place on a custom-molded bottle. It featured basic copy in six languages (English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, and Italian) and icons serving as installation instructions. Then the bottle was shrink-wrapped, with a booklet placed on the backside of the bottle. The booklet carried all other product and application information.
The combination of text and relatively universal usage/application graphics and icons ensured easy understanding by a broad spectrum of consumers. But if Accessories Marketing was going to effectively compete in the Western EU, it needed to expand the Slime label content further by adding a seventh language, Portuguese. As it stood, the company was faced with an increasingly crowded prime label and a multi-step labeling process.
“We wanted a better way to communicate our message in the seven languages needed for the Western EU,” Gurney-Hemme says. “And a label that could have all seven languages as well as all the product application information would also allow us to consolidate the number of SKUs. That would make it possible for us to serve even more customers.”
Extended-text label is the answer
The task of redesigning the label to meet the messaging and space requirements fell to Shana Lopez, Marketing Communications Manager with Accessories Marketing. Mechanics aside, a key objective was to design a label that would present innovative cues to help bring the product positioning to life.
“The previous packaging wasn’t as informative to the market as it should have been,” Lopez notes. “In order to provide a new market with relevant and informative information, we needed to explore a label with multiple pages. This would allow us the amount of space required by our European market.”
Throughout the development process, Lopez had to consider the impact of meeting the communication needs of multi-language markets by reaching a balance between effectively presenting the Slime brand and maintaining the product education.
To meet these requirements, Accessories Marketing selected WS Packaging Group’s () EasyTab® label, part of the company’s MultiVision® line of extended-text labels. EasyTab holds three patents and is engineered to meet the regulatory requirement that allows consumers to open, read, and reseal the label. Its patented pre-curve is designed for tight-diameter surfaces, and avoids edge lift and wrinkling when machine-applied. It also features a consumer-friendly “peel tab” that protects the overall package integrity.
Explains John Garrison, Senior Account Manager with WS Packaging, “Our goal was to balance product functionality with overall brand identity through a label that ensures consumers have all the information they need to make an informed purchase decision. And it has to happen regardless of their language.
“The best approach was to first identify the number of languages. We then built the label to accommodate the needed space. This avoided rework and was the most cost-effective way to develop a completely new concept for engaging consumers in new markets where there were language barriers. From the art templates for all the varying sizes to the line trial samples, we wanted to make sure the label communicated at the shelf, and also when it was in the consumer’s hand.”
The labels are produced at the WS Packaging facility in Fullerton, CA. For the single-use bottles of Slime, the EasyTab label has five panels: top (the primary display panel/back), insert (front/back), and base ply, which adheres to the high-density polyethylene bottle. The total number of print stations needed to meet the brand image and multiple-page construction, including the EasyTab proprietary release coatings, is 12. The base material for the EasyTab labels is Fasson® 2.6-mil, white biaxially oriented polypropylene, 60# white C2S, with pages attached using a 2.0-mil clear polypropylene laminate. The labels are flexo-printed in 10 colors with water-based ink.
In addition to producing the labels, WS Packaging also manufactured the label application equipment through its WSAutomation product group.
From a brand image perspective, the new label leverages several improvements that help establish the Slime brand to an entirely new audience. At the same time, it protects and even bolsters the brand equity in established markets. “Our brand is better represented via clean and concise messaging and graphics,” Lopez says. “The extended-text label construction allowed us to move some elements off the prime label, thereby giving us a larger platform for brand graphics and identity.”
Reduced costs, reduced labor
Slime Tire Sealant is available in a variety of HDPE bottles matched to the end-use application: 8-oz (237-mL) for motorcycles, scooters, and wheelbarrows; 16-oz (473-mL) for small to mid-size cars, and trailers; 20-oz (592-mL) for pickup trucks, SUVs, and golf carts; and 24-oz (710-mL) for ATVs and riding lawnmowers. A 32-oz (946-mL) multi-use bottle is also available. In addition to the Slime brand, the product is also available under private label. The bottles are slightly unique in that there is a recessed space molded into the container to hold a tube that is essential for installing the sealant easily.
“With the different sizes of product they have, Accessories Marketing would have needed up to 10 SKUs for each country,” Garrison says. “Inventory management would have been very difficult. But the use of our EasyTab extended-text label makes it much more manageable to capitalize on broad integration in the European market.”
The 8-oz product with the new label was the first SKU to launch in the Western EU. It hit store shelves in February 2013. The company is gradually rolling out the change to the remaining SKUs. In addition to the Western EU, Accessories Marketing is also using the MultiVision labels for its product sold in the Canadian market, which requires product labeling in French and English.
From Canada to the Western EU, the new labels are proving beneficial. Having multiple languages is allowing Slime to consolidate SKUs being sold internationally. But another benefit is how they have reduced the labor that goes into making one bottle of sealant. Instead of labeling the bottle, then shrink-wrapping an instructions insert to it, now the entire process is accomplished with just a label. This also reduces the cost of purchasing multiple components for just a single SKU.
“Allowing our customers to easily access the instructions in their native language ensures they’re getting the product they need,” Gurney-Hemme notes. “It also makes it possible for them to learn about the multiple applications where Slime can be used. The availability of education on our labels will help customers better understand how Slime can help them. This in turn helps our brand awareness and image because it promotes a favorable experience with our product.”