TalkingRain Beverage Company, a 20-year regional market leader wanted to stand out in the highly competitive bottled water market. They chose a square bottle with a new label to introduce six flavors of its actiVwater® brand of vitamin-enhanced bottled water on a national basis. In doing so, they switched from a round 20-ounce commodity hot-fill PET bottle with a cut-and-stack silver foil label to a square 19- ounce hot-fill PET bottle with a full-body shrink sleeve label.
From a graphics standpoint, the previous cut- and-stack labels were pretty straightforward. Shrink sleeves, however, have more variables that impact the graphics, from both a development and production standpoint. Shrink ratios are the most critical factor for designers to consider. In addition, the live graphics area, seam position, and how the sleeves will be applied factor into the design process. Protecting the brand's identity and making sure that there was uniform shrink was particularly demanding given the rectangular shape of the new actiVwater® bottle.
The label design leveraged the square shape of the new bottle, and that required precise placement of the sleeve. It was critical for the sleeve label to run through the equipment and hit the bottle in exactly the same spot every time.
All of the label elements combined with the shape of the new bottle provided the stronger brand position and shelf presence sought by TalkingRain. Bright metallic inks pop off the stark-white backdrop of the sleeve and the square bottle allows for three full facings to showcase the brand, with the nutrition information on the fourth side.
Engineers from WS Packaging Group worked closely with the co-packer and the manufacturer of the equipment that applies the sleeves. Together, they modified the application equipment to ensure the sleeve opened enough so it would not hang up on the mandrel or snag on the shoulder of the bottle. The target line speed is 200 to 225 bottles per minute, and there is capacity to increase those speeds to meet future production demands.
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