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Competition 'tags' winning labels

This year’s Tag and Label Awards Competition honors pressure-sensitive labels used for new age drinks, wine and vitamins.

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Launching a diet drink in the so-called “new age” category calls for an outstanding label. South Beach Beverage Co. created such a label when it launched its Lean line of three diet drinks. The label went on to earn first place in the 22nd annual Tag and Label Awards Competition. Held each year by the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute (Naperville, IL), the competition recognizes excellence in tag and pressure-sensitive label design.

It seems everyone these days uses clear p-s labels with bold colors. However, logos with lizards are not the norm. This unusual logo graces South Beach’s line of nutritionally enhanced beverages, which are marketed by the Norwalk, CT-based company under the name SoBe™.

The company’s new Lean drinks are bottled in the same 20-oz glass containers with the familiar SoBe lizard design molded into the bottle at the neck. And while the label materials and design are similar to those of other SoBe offerings, the Lean labels are a variation on a theme.

“We kept the lizards on the logo so people would know this is a SoBe product,” says Bill Bishop, South Beach’s director of marketing. “The major change is the placement of the name of the product above the logo. Since nothing on the label says diet on it, we figured the ‘Lean’ would pop out if it were above the lizard logo.” Bishop added that the lizards are slightly smaller on these labels to balance the product name positioned at the top of the logo.

Another change was the choice of colors. Each drink spotlights different label colors depending on the beverage color. For example, the peach flavor uses purple to offset the yellow color of the drink. “This is the first time we used purple, and I think it works really well,” adds Bishop. The 2-mil polypropylene p-s labels are screen-printed in six colors by Gar-Doc (Milford, NH), a division of Spear.

Introduced nationally in April, the product retails for 99¢ to $1.30. Bishop says that the minor changes in the label for the diet products differentiate the drinks from other SoBe beverages. “The label helps the products to gain recognition,” he says. “It helps consumers make the association that it’s a lean and diet product.”

Days of wines and vitamins

Another first place winner was the label for the Oakville, CA-based winery Miner Family Vineyards for its new Miner line of wines. The company wanted a “modern, ‘graphical’ look combining tradition with something hip,” according to owner Dave Miner.

The label incorporates images of a winged sun god borrowed from an Assyrian design. Converted by Tapp Technologies (Langley, British Columbia, Canada), the 60# paper label is offset-printed in two colors, gold and black, with a gold foil hot stamp. After three layers of black ink and two layers of gold are laid down in two passes, the label is embossed and die cut. The p-s labels are applied to 750-mL glass wine bottles.

Released earlier this year, the wines range in price from $14 to $50 a bottle and are available in most major U.S. markets in liquor and grocery stores.

Also earning a first place, the label for Pharmassure™ vitamins is designed to be both attractive and easy to understand. Sold exclusively at Rite-Aid stores, the store-brand vitamins are made to compete with brand-name versions. “We think it is different compared to other vitamin packaging,” says Irina Lorenzi, brand manager at the Pittsburgh, PA-based company.

The company believes the 60# paper label plus matching cap combined with the overall high-density polyethylene bottle design set the packaging apart. “The label uses block lettering and clearly calls out product benefits,” says Lorenzi. The label is rotary letterpress-printed in five colors by Copac (Spartanburg, NC). The vitamin line was released in October to Rite-Aid stores across the nation.

This year, more than 150 entries were submitted to TLMI representing 33 printing and converting companies. There were 35 first place winners in as many categories and 36 honorable mention winners.

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