Canadian Packaging

The highlight zone at Pack Expo

Brand-owners combine social media tools with engaging packaging to connect with consumers.


September 16, 2011
by Canadian Packaging Staff

Today’s brand-owners rely more than ever on packaging to entice consumers to purchase their products—so much so that the package itself often serves as a keystone of integrated marketing campaigns comprising various with print, electronic and social media communications components to develop unique new packaging structures, new materials, eye-catching colors and first-in-category graphics to build that all-important brand awareness and loyalty.

Nowhere will this trend be more evident than in The Brand Zone pavilion at the upcoming PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2011 exhibition at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sept. 26–28—produced by the Reston, Va.-headquartered Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute—where visiting brand-owners will be able to evaluate a wide assortment of innovative materials and containers to help the increase the products’ visual impact, enhance convenience, maximize shelf-life, add new functionalities and improve their sustainability performance.

While using packaging as advertising is not a radically new notion, the rapidly growing integration of social media technologies into the packaging strategy is a fairly recent phenomenon, with some of the world’s leading CPG (consumer packaged goods) being notably quick off the mark in embracing its vast potential to connect with today’s technology-savvy consumers on a personal level like never before.

The popular Diet Pepsi brand of sugar-free cola, which rolled out its new Skinny Can during the glamor-filled 2011 Fashion Week in New York City earlier this year to coincide with the national launch of the new packaging, has embarked on a major multiplatform marketing campaign built around the new package—using print, out-of-home and digital advertising to market the concept of ‘getting the skinny (i.e. the inside scoop)’ on the latest in cultural, fashion, style and design trends conveyed via the stylish new packaging.

“Diet Pepsi has a long history of celebrating women through iconic fashion imagery seen in our famous and historical advertising campaigns, and we’re proud to continue that tradition,” says Jill Beraud, chief marketing officer for the Purchase, N.Y.-headquartered PepsiCo Inc.

“Our slim, attractive new can is the perfect complement to today’s most stylish looks,” says Berard, adding that in response to early criticism alleging the slim can glorified a thinner body image, PepsiCo adjusted its social media campaign to focus on the celebration of innovation and style—incorporating it into the company’s Twitter feed (@dietpepsi) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/dietpepsi) page.

In addition, several ‘behind the scenes’ videos are posted on the PepsiCo YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/pepsi), with celebrities like television’s Modern Family’s Sofia Vergara discussing the campaign, as well as what they like about the new packaging.

For its part, Puerto Rican-based food-and-beverage producer Pan American Properties is using a similar approach in support of its recently-launched Gasolina Urban Blends line ready-to-drink alcoholic cocktails packaged in 200-ml aluminum pouches.

Produced in six different flavor varieties—with alcohol content ranging from 7.5 to 11 per cent—the innovative Gasolina Urban Blends pouches are outfitted with built-in straws to make them perfect portable companions for outdoor fun and partying, according to the company.

Featuring an attention-grabbing Party in a Pouch tagline, the new eye-catching packaging is extensively supported by with print advertisements showing consumers enjoy the beverage in locations such as tailgate parties, nightclubs and the beach, as well as extensive off- and on-premises tasting program conducted at popular events in Miami, Gainesville, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, Panama City and other population centers across Florida.

Meanwhile, healthcare product manufacturer Kimberly-Clark Corporation is boldly shaking things up in the traditionally low-key category of feminine hygiene products with a radical design overhaul of the company’s U by Kotex line tampons, maxi pads and panty liners with brightly-colored, eye-catching package designs intended to redefine the category by encouraging women to change the tone of conversation about feminine care from shame and embarrassment to open, honest dialogue, according to the company.

“For the past 50 years, ourselves and other advertisers have been perpetuating a cultural stigma by emphasizing that the best menstrual period is one that is ignored,” says Andrew Meurer, Kimberly-Clark’s vice-president of North American group brands for feminine, adult and senior care products. “The way the Kotex brand will be positioned in the future will be very different.

“We are changing our brand equity to stand for truth, transparency and progressive female care,” citing attractive new packaging featuring six-color SBS (solid bleached sulphite) folding cartons with spot varnish finishing and small, discreet carrying tins available in 56 colorful designs.

To enhance the packages’ impact on retail shelves, the signature black boxes feature a die-cut a window that allows consumers to see the rainbow of neon-colored interior product wrappers, as well as product size Meurer explains, creating the effect of the product “leaping  off the shelf  from a midst of pastels and white.”

Launched last year, the repackaged U by Kotex was extensively supported with an integrated marketing campaign that included targeted print, TV and online advertising, online communications, extensive consumer sampling and retail in-store support nearly leaps off the shelf.

In April, the company new POP (point-of-purchase) displays primarily targeting teenagers and young women, along with a new Ban the Bland asks them to design maxi pads.

These new package designs will be among more than 150 Brand Zone exhibits that will provide PACK EXPO attendees with critical tools to create their next packaging innovation with stand-out materials and containers, or ingenious labeling and decorating concepts.

For more information on PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2011, go to: www.packexpo.com.