For the emerging generation of younger consumers, a static package—where nothing flashes, changes colors, or presents a holographic or 3D look—can be easily ignored on the store shelf today. This is, after all, a generation growing up with 3D blockbuster movies and startlingly realistic video games.
Let’s face it—to get your beverage noticed today it can often take more than just the liquid that is in the bottle.
Luckily, beverage marketers have more special effects to choose from than ever before. Here are some of the latest examples.
Of all the technology used on packages in recent years, probably the one that had the most impact was Coors’ use of thermochromic inks from Chromatic Technologies, Inc. (CTI), that changed colors when the package reached a cold enough temperature.
“The introduction of thermo-chromic ink to our Coors Light packag-ing was a defining moment for the brand five years ago, delivering on the “Quest for Cold” promise we’d made to our beer drinkers,” says Scott Singer, marketing director, Coors Light. “We continue to use the technology on all of our cans and bottles today, and have even extended it into Coors Light Iced T, which debuted as the first ever line extension for Coors Light [in April].”
Originally, the Coors Light Cold Certified cans and bottles featured a proprietary temperature-sensitive thermochromic technology that turns the Coors Light Mountain Icon from white to blue when the beer has been chilled to 4 degrees Celsius or less. Following the success of the original packaging, the brand introduced its current two-stage activation bottles and cans, which has the functional benefit of showing two stages of cold readiness.
Rob Ugianskis, VP and general manager of CTI, says his company is now developing inks which change color in sunlight and also glow in the dark. “What we’re envisioning,” he says, “are beverages that would bill themselves as the ‘backyard brand,’ so to speak. Barbecue applications, picnics, tailgating—if you had an interactive technology that in the presence of sunshine was capable of creating a different effect you could certainly create a brand message around those types of effects.”
Spear is another packaging company at the forefront of special effects, incorporating QR codes, augmented reality and talking labels, allowing the label to create an interactive experience between the consumer and the brand. Spear also has developed thermochromic labels for the likes of Carlsberg and Diageo which change color in response to temperature variation and can reveal hidden graphics or messages.
Interactive Cans and Bottles
Instant Win Innovations (New Garfield, Conn.) offers engaging technology that allows cans to do everything from talk, to shiver, flash or even play videos. The empty cans with the special effects can be fed throughout a two or three month promotion and discovered over time by winners. The company also offers cash caps that adhere to the underside of a PET cap. And its latest offerings include placing a cash cap under a crown cap for bottles, and new video cans. When the consumer opens the can, a 40-second video actually plays inside it.
Natures Flash Lite offers a bottle overlay that will adhere directly over the bottle label. This overlay will light up or can flash with illumination and motion to draw attention to a brand. It can be used for any beverage, beer or liquor bottle. In a full bar, for instance, a liquor bottle will light up and draw attention. The technology interfaces flawlessly with photo-quality artwork. Natures Flash Lite uses naturally occurring crystals that are known for their illuminative qualities to produce the special effects. According to Progressive Edge, the company behind Natures Flash Lite, the production costs are about 80-percent less than other illuminated alternatives. The panels are paper thin and durable as they are created without glass.
Dynamic Drinkware (Oshkosh, Wis.) offers eye-catching film and lenticular technology that gives animation or photographic quality to promotional cups sold in stadiums, theaters and retailers. Lenticular is a substrate that enables the brand to do different types of animations, such as morphing, zooming, flips and 3D, says the company. The company is also developing a holographic-type substrate offering even more of the ‘wow’ factor to consumers.
Consumers looking to mix their own favorite flavors or nutraceutical ingredients into a plain bottle of water are being offered a new closure called Tap the Cap. Tap the Cap is a chamber cap that can contain powders, granules and concentrates of teas.
All the consumer need do is place the cap on their favorite bottled water, then tap, shake, pull and enjoy. The cap also is a showcase for a product logo or company graphic. It gives brands an opportunity to make a strong lasting impression because the cap stays on the bottle as consumers drink, replacing forgettable throwaway packets.