Paperboard packs award-winning punch

Award winners in this year's Paperboard Packaging Competition range from digital camera bag sleeves to catheter cards to bagel cartons.

A paperboard package for digital camera bags sold by Case Logic Inc. earned the coveted President's Award for Caraustar (Austell, GA) at the 1999 National Paperboard Packaging Competition. The annual awards were presented in late March by the Paperboard Packaging Council.

The camera bag sleeves allow consumers easy access to product features and a clear view into compartments without removing or damaging the packaging. Packs can be merchandised from a shelf or peg.

Caraustar's Denver plant printed and glued Case Logic's DC 50 and DC 70 bags. The sleeves are 24-pt solid bleached sulfate paperboard. On a sheet-fed press, they are printed offset in six colors plus an aqueous coating. The DC 50 retails for $16.99 and the DC 70 retails for $24.99.

Mark Banks, a buyer at Boulder, CO-based Case Logic, says the package was a departure for the company in both design and graphics. "There was a realization that we needed to depart from the traditional sleeve on these two products," says Banks. "The idea was to reveal the product more and create a consumer desire to pick the product up and actually open it. We were hoping to draw a little interaction with the product."

Before the February '98 redesign, the camera bags were placed in paperboard sleeves that didn't allow consumers to look into the bags. When consumers did look inside the bag, they often took the sleeve off, then left the camera bag and the sleeve separate, according to Banks. "Now our product can easily be opened and reclosed and put back in the retail position," says Banks.

Particularly interesting is a front-panel die cut in the sleeve. It exposes a velcro(TM) patch that makes it possible to open and reclose the bag's top flap.

In addition to reconfiguring the structure of the package, Case Logic changed the graphic design. "There's a marketing thrust to go from only highlighting the product to more of a lifestyle look," says Banks. "This is a middle step, departing away from strictly the look of the product on our packaging, trying to move toward the lifestyle look." Thus, the package shows the product being used. Banks says Case Logic's signature graphics are a yellow header with a teal vignette. "We also used a purple for this product to depart from our old color scheme," he says. "We wanted a new look."

Structural/technical innovation

Boston Scientific/Sci Med knew that the design of its catheter cards could possibly mean the difference between life and death. The Maple Grove, MN-based company worked closely with converter Flour City Packaging (Minneapolis, MN) to develop a paperboard card that could sufficiently hold the catheters through all shipping stages while maintaining the shape and efficacy of the catheter. For accomplishing these tasks, Flour City won the PPC's Structural/Technical Innovation Award.

Flour City makes the 42"-long cards out of 12-pt SBS and prints them flexographically in two colors. A long central channel and a series of die-cut tabs hold the catheter in place. After the catheters are placed on the cards, the cards are placed in a bag from Perfecseal (philadelphia, PA) that includes DuPont's (Wilmington, DE) Tyvek(TM) on one side and a two-layer lamination of clear 48-ga polyester and 2-mil polyethylene on the other side. This bag is heat-sealed closed.

"We wanted something that would hold the catheter during sterilization and shipment," says Tim Mlsna, packaging engineering supervisor at Boston Scientific. "These products are often packed in thermoformed trays. However, those trays cost considerably more than we were looking to spend. So we developed prototypes of paperboard that could support the catheter so that no matter what side it was on, it wouldn't be able to fall out or sag."

Six-paneled bagel carton

This year PPC chose 14 Gold Award winners. Among them was a 12-count bagel carton from Smurfit-Stone Container (Clayton, MO) for a St. Louis company called Panera Bread/Saint Louis Bread Co. Panera Bread felt the paper bags it had been using for its 12-count bagels were unsatisfactory.

"We felt we needed a creative carrier for our bagels," says Lisa Lorenz, marketing manager for Panera. "We looked at our competitors, who typically do some sort of carton or box, but we wanted to do something unique."

The unusual six-panel carton, which debuted in early '98, is made of 24-pt Kraftpak® folding carton board from the Kraft Div. of Westvaco (New York, NY). Smurfit-Stone prints Panera's carton offset in six colors. Though the configuration is unique, Smurfit-Stone said it is still able to run the carton on a straight-line gluer. The cartons offer space to print considerable information, while serving as a handy container, according to Lorenz.

"We designed the box to showcase all of our different bagel flavors," says Lorenz. "We printed care and serving tips for bagels, and we also gave a recipe for bagel chips." Lorenz credits the new carton with increasing bulk bagel sales by 10%.

There were 250 entries in this year's competition; 77 won awards. Besides the President's, Structural/Technical Innovation and Gold Awards, 61 entrants received Excellence Awards. Awards were given based on the paperboard carton's graphics, communication of product information, product protection, versatility in shape, size and design.

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