Versioning has been the ‘talk of the town’ in 2013 in the professional packaging & branding community since the blockbuster success of the Coca Cola “Share a Coke” campaign earlier this summer. At recent industry events we have attended it has been the main topic of conversation, the case study to cite, the envy of many brand owners who are looking to replicate the success of the UK’s first mass market digital labelling project. Our earlier blog post on the campaign is here. Packaging news also wrote a great piece on it. DLP’s article is here.
If you missed out on the story, its worth revisiting the different categories of targeted marketing in this area to fully understand just what Coca Cola have achieved.
Conventional practice is that digital is used for short runs of printed packaging, and conventional analogue for long runs, sometimes with overprinted black numbers or barcodes to add uniqueness. The Coca campaign has changed that, and made a fantastic success of long run digital in a new and clever way as we try to show below:
What the Share a Coke campaign did was to print very long runs of the mass market Coke labels in a large number of designs, I understand this being 150 designs (forenames) per country. This in itself is nothing special – many brands have hundreds or thousands of SKUs.
What the Share a Coke Campaign did differently was to digitally print these 150 or so names in a random order, allowing the label to be applied in the usual way on a high speed – high volume bottling line, but the resulting cartons / pallets all contained random labelled products allowing distribution without trying to manually “mix and match” the designs up if they had been printed conventionally. Clever!
The result was what is being called “digital versioning” and has apparently been a huge commercial success, with sales up with about 2.3% or 10% depending on which rumour you believe!
This new type of high volume digital print does of course add some on-pack cost to the product but offers a wonderful opportunity for brands to personalise their products to micro markets in a new and creative way that doesn’t simply rely of monochrome barcodes/numbers like an offer coupon.
There are more such projects coming in 2014, including the long rumoured Walkers Crisps digital print campaign announced today.
If you have an idea to take advantage of digital printing on your labels then please contact Andy Park (Key Account Manager) on 01543 431 074 or via Linkedin directly with an initial outline our your idea.