Stand out from the crowd: innovating on-pack promotions

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Finlay Hogg, creative director at Mediator, discusses the importance of on pack promotions.

Space on pack is a valuable asset.

Packaging today has to stand out on shelf and encourage consumer interaction. No matter how eye-catching, graphics alone often don’t make the impact needed.

On-pack promotions are one of the most widely used form of sales promotion in a retail environment. They are an effective way of standing out amongst price promotions and creating stand out at point of purchase. You just need to take a stroll down the aisle of your local supermarket and you'll be exposed to a host of offers designed to grab your attention and sway your decision making process.

The best on-pack promotions have the ability to not only encourage purchase but build loyalty and strengthen brand image.

To do this brands must get under the skin of their audiences understanding their likes, interest, problems and routines. The goal is to uncover a truth which could help them connect emotionally. Being consumer-centric is not a new approach, but these truths combined with creative and strategic thought fuel some of the amazing packaging and promotions we see today.

For on-pack offers and rewards, simplicity is key. There’s no better example than Tic-Tac’s Find a Fiver. With a great offer, simple messaging, eye catching design and easy to use redemption mechanic it was a huge hit with consumers. The promotion was supported by an advertising campaign featuring an oddball character created appeal to the target audience, along with bold POS and a fun micro-site. This mix of media helped the promotion achieve awareness and drive maximum product sales.

Another incredibly popular and long standing promotion is McDonald's Monopoly. This beautifully simple instant win mechanic using an iconic licensed product ensures floods of people flock to the fast food restaurant each year for an instant hit of joy.

With advancements in technology, it’s becoming easier to innovate both packaging and promotional mechanics. Production techniques give us the ability to update packaging efficiently and affordably. Whilst apps and microsites allows us to deepen engagement, shaping the experience we provide consumers.

Augmented reality has become a tool to access additional content like product information, games and competitions. Heinz Ketchup led the way when they used Blipper to turn their bottles into a recipe book and used this to drive people to their Facebook page to access more.

There are lots of amazing apps out there which brands can make use of. Shazam recently developed visual recognition technology which can recognise an invisible watermark. Absolut Vodka made use of this with a neck label that when scanned opened up a micro-site with 1,000 cocktail recipes. This provided content straight from the shelf that was relevant to Absolut’s audience likes and interests and got them downloading the Shazam app.

Dual purpose packaging is something that can help amplify a brand’s characteristics and help make it more appealing. This is especially relevant in an age where consumers are conscious of waste and try to get a second use out of many jars, bottles and containers.

There was a promotion, back in 2014, by Nescafe which tapped into people's daily routine through a limited-edition 3D printed alarm clock cap. By turning their instant coffee jar into a wake-up device, which could only be turned off by opening the product, consumers would literally ‘wake up and smell Nescafé’ - the tagline for the experimental campaign.

Another great example of promotion though dual purpose packaging was the Vittel Refresh Cap. By turning the cap into a timer, Vittel were able to remind people to drink water every hour.

Pushing the boundaries of technology in packaging is something all brands should be doing more of. However, it's not always an easy task changing packaging, there are limitations and sometimes heavy costs involved. We must continue to innovate however, to drive category differentiation and continue to engage the tech hungry and ‘I want it now’ consumer.

Personalization is another trend that is taking over big brand packaging from Coke to HP and Marmite. The Coke campaign enabled you to create create your own label as well being able to pick up a bottle with your name on it in store. Seeing your name, or your friend's name, creates that ‘emotional connection’ every brand is chasing and of course it's extremely shareable.

Space on pack is a valuable asset that brands can use as part of an exchange in a promotional partnership. Just look at Absolut and Shazam. Collaborating with the right brand in an authentic way could give you access to a relevant audience, innovate with new technologies, as well as providing a memorable experience with your brand.

Finlay Hogg is the creative director at Mediator.

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