The days of one-way messaging through TV or print ads to appeal to consumers’ purchasing decisions have given way to “engagement marketing”. Two-dimensional (two-way) communication where consumers participate, share, and interact with a brand creates crucial interaction resulting in business and personal success. The bi-directional nature of social media enables a two-way marketing channel.

In our report; Is Digital Printing Part of Your Brand or Operational Strategy? we describe how in recent years, a third dimension of engagement has emerged that affects both the consumer relationship and a sense of community involvement. It is not just a conversation that occurs, but a connection to a purpose that transforms all in the process. At the core of this is the fact that human beings are social animals, wanting to communicate and interact. Interactive channels of retail, digital and live events create new brand experiences enabled through digital printing and the painlessly fast turnaround times.

Not only do consumers expect products to perform as promised, they want the products to provide memorable experiences that help differentiate them from alternate choices. To achieve this, many new product SKUs are creating unique customer experiences. Attracting the customer’s attention doesn’t always have to be a new product. Innovative, personalized packaging designs can also capture customer attention. Some of the case studies that follow, demonstrate successful promotional, customization and personalization packaging programs.

Brand Marketing: Seasonal/Cause Marketing/Golden Anniversaries /Regional/Limited Editions

Market strategies can include many themes segmenting various consumer interests. These efforts create new offerings targeted for specific holidays, time-of-year, and events or to commemorate past events, etc. Extra effort is required to produce such a package with the traditional analog supply chains. CPCs often compromise their ideal program because it is too time-consuming or cost-prohibitive.

  • Pepperidge Farm – Launched “Life is Good” cause-marketing campaign on its package. These were regionalized and conducted for a limited time. This cause-marketing program was repeated and done effortlessly using digital package printing.
  • Hobby Lobby Candles – Created seasonal labels for the same candles, delivered 48-hour turnaround from print-to-label, packed and loaded trucks for delivery to 400+ Hobby Lobby stores. This produced a 3 percent increase in candle sales.
  • Coca Cola’s Sprite Design Contest – In order to raise awareness of the Sprite brand in Israel, Coca Cola created an online design contest for the Sprite can. Participants created and submitted designs online for a chance to win. Four hundred designs were printed on shrink sleeves and used 20,000 cans on store shelves. Three-and a half million people logged onto the contest website for a country with a population of seven million people with a target audience of only five million people. This campaign drew strong market penetration by using both online and physical worlds.


The market will continue to segment itself. The mass production age now gives way to the mass customization age. Here are some examples:

  • L’Oreal Kids Shampoo – Launched a new kids line of shampoo. L’Oreal selected to use the Disney Pixar movie, “Toy Story III” to launch and win shelf space. L’Oreal then moved to the “CARS” movie theme seamlessly with no remnants, and label orders soared 300 percent.
  • Wingman Beer – A regional beer company from California used a back label for entertaining jokes, pick-up lines and aviator trivia from the “Top Gun” movie theme. Each label had different text, engaging consumers to read each individual label. Wingman leveraged the use of digital printing’s variable data capability to achieve recognition with this campaign.


  • Heineken Beer – Began an online service allowing consumers to create their own beer labels through the use of shrink sleeves. An online design pallet was provided and self-created 6-packs were delivered to homes at a 4x price premium versus the regular store price. This campaign began in Holland as a pilot program in 2009. It expanded to Ireland and Spain in 2010. Four more countries were added in 2011. This story offers a great example of a loyalty program and subsidized marketing campaign.
  • My Kleenex – An ecommerce loyalty program allowed designs and photos to be uploaded online for a customized oval tissue package. The website made other promotional product information available on the web page. Personalized tissue ovals had a minimum quantity of one and were delivered direct to homes with a 4x price premium compared to the store price.
  • Wrigley My Extra Gum – Launched an online website allowing consumers to personalize their gum cartons. The website provided suggestions for 23 different themes.

This is an edited excerpt from Karstedt Partners report titled: Is Digital Printing Part of Your Brand or Operational Strategy? The report was coproduced with Mike Ferrari of Ferrari Innovation Solutions and former Procter & Gamble executive. Click here for more information on the report.