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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Gold medal worthy limited edition Olympic packaging

The excitement of the London 2012 Olympic Games truly united people and brands with the spirit of the games. Let's take a look at which brands truly captured the spirit of the games, stood out and recognised the importance of capturing the attention of consumers and thrived during this celebration.


MWM Graphics and brand agency Attik partnered to create packaging for The Coca-Cola products in the U.K. The team created whimsical, abstract graphic renditions mirroring the colors of the famed Olympic rings, and Coke's signature red color. Coke's partnering agencies around the world have drawn inspiration on the graphics to use in regional packaging.


French macaron maker Fauchon put its tasty cookies in Olympics-themed limited-edition packaging and created a new flavor just for the games. The cassis-flavored cookies, each topped off with a white-chocolate Union Jack flag by pastry chef Fabien Rouillard, sold in special London 2012 boxes at the confectioner's stores until the Olympic flame is extinguished.


Procter & Gamble, an official sponsor of the Games, emblazoned products across all of its brand offerings with Olympic graphics. Among the most notable Olympics packaging that P&G is offering: limited-edition tubes and packaging for its Cover Girl  LashBlast Volume mascara-normally orange, the tubes have been turned white and embossed with the rings; the multimedia ad campaign features female athletes.



Bibendum, the official wine partner for the games, appointed FutureBrand to create a series of wines celebrating the Olympic and Paralympic games. The rose, chenin blanc and shiraz tempranillo are the only wines sold in the Olympic venues during the games; they also are being sold at selected retail outlets.

This article was first published on Packaging Digest

Featured article: Making the most of limited-edition packaging

As featured in Direct Commerce

With a summer of celebrations, limited-edition packaging has been filling the high street with brands such as Harvey Nichols, Sainsbury's and Kellogg's all embracing the trend. However, bespoke seasonal packaging isn't just for multinationals and luxury brands. With cataloguers and online retailers turning their attention to Christmas, this could be the perfect time to see what bespoke seasonal packaging could do for your brand. 

For marketing managers, the advantages of limited-edition packaging may be fairly obvious: it's a fantastic way of capitalising on the all-important "feel good factor", making your brand more memorable and ensuring customers associate their purchases with this special time of year. 

A missed opportunity?

However, smart packaging can go much further; high quality packaging increases the perceived value of the content and reassures consumers that they have made the right choice--vital for the Christmas gift market. 

In addition, mailing packaging is the perfect space to promote brand messages or social-media activity, although sadly it is often overlooked by marketers. A particular benefit of limited-edition packaging is its potential to promote time-sensitive messages to already receptive customers. For example, Christmas packaging can advertise forthcoming sales, while the addition of a QR code is an effective way of driving direct online interaction.

Managing the logistics

While the advantages may be clear for marketers, there are also logistical considerations that should be taken into account. After all, who wants to contend with a stockroom full of Christmas packaging on 1st January? To avoid this scenario, it is advisable to work closely with the forecasting team so Christmas packaging is available for the full six-week Christmas shopping period, which runs from the start of November until Christmas Eve. 

In addition, good manufacturers should have a mechanism in place to help their clients actively manage stock levels. To ensure retailers don't run out of packaging or have cash tied up in excess stock, they need to work with suppliers that are able to keep up and adjust for peaks and troughs in demand.

One concern occasionally brought up by retailers is the notion that limited-edition packaging may attract the attention of thieves, however the reality is that postal thefts, although relatively rare, are usually the product of opportunism rather than a targeted campaign. Courier companies have also increased the security of their services in recent years, with timed delivery slots chosen at the customer's convenience, text message alerts and signed-for services now commonplace. In other words, the days of simply leaving a parcel on the doorstep  or in a "safe place" where it may be vulnerable to theft are long gone.

While the factors mention above highlight that limited edition packaging may bring certain logistical challenges, it should be remembered that it can bring real advantages. Returns and inclement weather are both big issues for e-retailers at Christmas and both can be at least partially addressed by well-designed packaging: consumers associate high-quality packaging with high-quality product, while damaged packaging leads to an assumption of low quality.

Christmas packaging can be designed to be robust enough to withstand rain and snow and more return friendly-factors that improve the overall customer experience. Polythene packaging is ideally suited to withstand bad weather, ensuring the package arrives at the customer's home in perfect condition therefore lessening the chance of returns. Although some returns are inevitable, the addition of a second glue strip on the mailing bag's flap is great way of enabling customers to use the same bag to return goods. As well as improving the customer experience, this also boosts the reuse of packaging thereby reducing the amount of landfill. Most importantly, it also produces a standard returns format, simplifying processing and making it easier to remerchandise goods.

The practicalities

So, with the marketing and logistical advantages established, what are the practical considerations? The simplest way to create Christmas packaging is simply to change the colour of the current packaging design, for example, by changing the print to a metallic red or green. No additional plates are required, making this a very affordable option while still demonstrating to customers that the brand has created something special for the holiday period. 

Of course, for brands with slightly more budget, the design possibilities are endless. To keep within budget and to ensure the end design is achievable on the packaging material, we recommend companies work closely with their manufacturer from the initial briefing process.

As a rough guide, brands should expect to pay around £100 for new printing plates for a one-colour design. Approximate lead times are three weeks from artwork sign off, making the next six weeks the prime time to place orders to ensure all sizes of mailing bags are in stock ready for the start of the Christmas shopping season. It may also be advisable to order generic packaging range at the same time to ensure packaging is in place for post-Christmas sales.

With the practicalities taken care of, it's clear that bespoke seasonal packaging, and all the advantages it can bring are no longer the preserve of those with large marketing budgets. With a little planning it can offer brands of all shapes and sizes a real competitive advantage in the crucial Christmas trading period, and in the current economic climate, few brands can afford to ignore this.

David Brimelow, Managing Director, Duo

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