Product News

Interactive Packaging Club

Posted in Branding, Business News, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Design Cognition News, Drinks Packaging, Events, Food Packaging, Gift Packaging, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Interactive, Marketing, Materials, Medical Devices, Product News, Technology, Uncategorized on April 28th, 2014 by Chris Penfold – 13 Comments

JOIN THE CLUB – What’s in it for YOU?

bionicwomaneye_2Dear All,
Rapid innovation is happening that will enable products & everyday things of all types to ‘interact’ in some way remotely with people or other products.  New devices and processes ranging from: smartphones and their ‘apps’ through 3D printing & nanotechnology to low cost Printed and Plastic Electronics (PPE), are becoming available that can:     Create new visual effects: including static or moving and scrollable images
    Produce a sound
    Contain embedded data: for instant information; for validating the identity or location of a product or person;
    Enable interfaces that can respond to touch, gestures or motion
    Sense & report on an environment, temperature or condition
    Release a chemical substance in a controlled way
    Gather energy from the ‘air’ ….and much more

Smart ‘things’ will form extended data communications networks and lead to the much-vaunted longer term vision of every product having its own unique IP address and being accessed by other intelligent devices anywhere.  This is part of what has been dubbed the ‘Internet of Things’ (IOT).

A new generation of devices and communication protocols that sit alongside RFID is emerging; e.g. Near Field Communication (NFC), Ultra Wide Band (UWB), ZigBee, RuBee etc.  These promise to deliver real time information on location.

So what are YOU doing about it?

If you have enjoyed the recent Pack To The Future (#PTTF) events with presentations on topics such as  ‘Printed Electronics in Packaging’ and the affiliated IPI events such as ‘Game Changing Developments for Brands and Packaging based on Smart Phones’, we have something very special FOR YOU that I’m sure will be very appealing.

Design Cognition is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Interactive Product Solutions, and the forming of an Interactive Packaging Club dedicated to this area. In particular the club will help Members to find answers to key questions such as:
•    What applications are other early adopters pursuing and why?
•    What technologies can I adopt now & what are the resource and cost implications for me?
•    Which technologies can be used alone or in combination to address my applications and how?
•    What are the realistic time scales and when will it begin to affect my company?
•    What commercialisation activities or development projects are worth engaging in now?


So how will we do this?
Club details:
Together we are planning to run a series of special events:
1. A series of Webinars sessions which will will involve presentations by leading technology suppliers from around the world, followed by a discussion of the commercial implications of the developments presented.  A great way for our international clients to participate…..Webinars will cover specific topics or themes as follows:
-    Flexible Displays (battery & non-battery powered)
-    Sensors (biological & non-biological)
-    Controlled Release Devices
-    Brand Protection, Anti-Counterfeiting & Traceability Devices
-    Physical/Digital (phygital) Experiences, including Augmented Reality
-    Consumer Engagement
-    Packs as active tokens in game play
-    Indicative packaging

2. Regular full-day facilitated Working Group Sessions that will provide the opportunity for Interactive Packaging Club Members to develop an in-depth understanding and debate emerging technologies and identify new applications and commercial opportunities.
3. On-Line Interactive Packaging Resource Centre
Via the restricted ‘members-only’ web site, Interactive Packaging Club Members have access to a comprehensive and authoritative dossier of information relating to Interactive Packaging.


Payment will be via a one-off annual membership fee – see prospectus for provisional details.

If YOU or any of your friends or colleagues would like to find out more, please ask them to send an email to Chris Penfold via: and we will keep you updated as information becomes available over the next few weeks.

Many thanks and we look forward to working with you

Chris Penfold

Design Cognition

If this event is not quite right for you, we are always willing and able to run bespoke workshops at your premises anywhere in the world. Let us know if you’d like us to put together a unique itinerary for you.

To find out more email
Give us a call on +44 (0) 115 8461914

PRESS RELEASE – New alliance between GP Solutions & Design Cognition

Posted in Business News, Design Cognition News, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Marketing, Medical Devices, Product News, Technology, Uncategorized on July 23rd, 2012 by Sheila Penfold – 16 Comments

GP-LogoDesign Cognition Group Ltd are pleased to announce the formation of a new alliance with GP Solutions UK Ltd. Both companies provide a range of dedicated products /services which are specifically geared towards the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets. Commenting on the arrangement, Design Cognition Managing Director Penfold said “This is a major step forward for our companies that will provide a unique and unrivalled offering for our respective clients which will provide a fantastic & interesting product/service mix adding real value”.

Equally enthusiastic about the new co-operation,  GP Solutions UK Ltd Managing Director Howieson stated “By combining our respective know how & expertise we shall be able to offer a comprehensive pool of packaging/product development talent”.

GP Solutions UK Ltd were first incorporated in 2000. They are a small yet dynamic consultancy & product development enterprise. The business devises unique IP led packaging, labelling & technology based solutions into the pharmaceutical/R&D markets. Some of its notable achievements include :
Dose Guard – a child resistant peel & push secondary layer for blister packs &/or patient wallet cards
Chrysalis – which is a integrated high speed leaflet/carton construction created to aid compliance
Dose Recognition – a mobile phone software/App platform designed to (remotely) monitor patient compliance.
Alongside the development arm of the company they also supply a bespoke range of dedicated clinical trial materials for many of the worlds leading pharmaceutical companies. Across all aspects of the business they operate a pro-active & progressive approach to identifying new market trends which can help to improve client supply chain management & patient engagement process.

Design Cognition were formed in 2006 and are an award winning, independent and dedicated packaging design & development contractor & consultancy. We provide packaging development, product development and project management support for companies from small business start-ups to large multi-nationals, primarily in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

Design Cognition also provides brand owners, product development companies, packaging designers and packaging suppliers/assemblers with packaging and pack design expertise (structural and graphic) & undertake bespoke training across all product categories. Focussed on innovation we provide tailored packaging support on all aspects of the product lifecycle and supply chain. The company has previously been quoted in The Daily Telegraph, The Nottingham Evening Post and have appeared on BBC East Midlands.

For more information on how this fantastic alliance can help add value in your business contact Design Cognition on:
+44 115 846 1914

Tween-focused packaging design

Posted in Branding, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Design, Healthcare & Pharma, Marketing, Product News, Retailers on December 5th, 2011 by Chris Penfold – 22 Comments

The Tween market is one of the most desirable and fastest growing consumer groups and said to be worth over $200-billion-per-year. Aimed at 9 to 14 years old, it is a sensitive market with many dichotomies. Where girls are said to be “too old for toys, too young for boys,” and boys…are just boys…never too old for toys ;-) . Tweens are feisty, opinionated, razor-sharp, brutally honest, slightly awkward, and very, very important for your brand.

U by Kotex - Tween packaging design

U by Kotex - Tween packaging design

Much work has been going on recently to explore this area and the following article provides some useful and interesting insights into how best to differentiate your packaging to appeal to this particular audience, who:

1. Aspire to be older, but are still children.
2. Want to be unique, but also still fit in.
3. Have strong ideas about what they want to buy, but need parental involvement and approval to purchase those things.

But, whilst also being mindful of the underlying needs of their parents who still have  a big ‘hand’ in what they buy. Some great examples are demonstrated by U by Kotex Tween and Geo Girl, Walmart’s new line of Eco-friendly cosmetics for 8 to 12 year olds (which personally I feel a little less comfortable with)…..but read on and let us know what you think…..

You can read the rest of the article here (via Healthcare Packaging): Tween-tastic package design

Chris Penfold

Heavenly Chocolate Reality from Cadbury

Posted in Branding, Food Packaging, Innovation, Marketing, Product News, Technology, Uncategorized on August 18th, 2011 by Chris Penfold – 14 Comments

Cadbury UK, the confectionery giant which is now part of Kraft Foods, is believed to be ahead of it’s competitors, having created the first interactive chocolate bar using ‘markless image recognition technology’.

It has announced plans to use Augmented Reality (AR) technology to engage consumers by enabling them to play a digital game when their chocolate packaging is viewed via a smartphone camera.

The ‘Quaksmack’ game, devised by Blippar, who are a UK-based technology firm, recognises Cadbury’s packaging in a similar manner to a QR code and transforms the packaging itself into an interactive game. The app is available in Android and Apple versions.

Check out this video to preview the game:

Players choose to be a ‘Spot’ or ‘Stripe’, before ducks appear from either side of the chocolate bar. They have to ‘smack’ the opposing team’s ducks by tapping the screen.

The game, is part of the Cadbury brands ongoing Spot V Stripes London Olympics initiative  and will be available across all Cadbury chocolate bars, except for Creme Eggs and Wispas.

Commenting to Packaging News, Kraft Foods digital head Sonia Carter said: “We loved Blippar from the moment we saw it in action. We were blown away by the technology and we’re certain consumers will be. With one in three UK adults owning a smartphone the potential market for initiatives like this is huge and we are proud to be bringing this incredible technology to the masses….It doesn’t seem all that long ago we were all marvelling at what QR codes could do but Blippar’s ‘markless image recognition’ technology takes the experience to a whole new level.”

Blippar chief executive and co-founder Ambarish Mitra, reinforced a deep-help belief of mine that: “Image-recognition enabled Augmented Reality is far from a ‘gimmick’ and will fundamentally change how consumers interact with their favourite real-world brands.”

Thanks to Packaging News for bringing our attention to this article. You can read further related packaging AR and technology articles here: Related technology articles

Chris Penfold

Branded Packaging That Delivers – Transform Your Products

Posted in Branding, Design, Design Cognition News, Events, Innovation, Marketing, Product News, Retailers, Training, cost-optimisation on November 3rd, 2010 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment
coca cola - branded packaging that delivers

coca cola - branded packaging that delivers

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, effective branding is essential.

So we are running a 1 day course to give you hints, tips and pointers on how to make your product stand out on shelf through effective packaging as a marketing tool.

It will explain how to transform your good brand into a GREAT brand and help take your products to the ‘next level’, looking at a number of important aspects including brand values, added value & convenience, rationalisation, pack size, reducing material cost and innovation to get retailer acceptance, drive sales and increase profitability.

9th December 2010 at Biocity in Nottingham, UK

HURRY NOW – find out more & how to register to get an EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT by clicking Branded Packaging That Delivers

Catalent Pharma to use Digimarc Media Enhanced Packaging™ Solutions globally

Posted in Branding, Design, Healthcare & Pharma, Innovation, Product News, Technology on September 28th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – Be the first to comment
Media Enhanced Packaging Solutions - 'raise the game'

Media Enhanced Packaging Solutions - 'raise the game'

The US-based Digimarc Corporation has recently been working very closely with New Jersey-based Catalent Pharma Solutions, a leading provider of innovative packaging solutions to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and consumer healthcare industries to take interactive pharmaceutical packaging to the ‘next level’. It has licensed its mobile visual search software that, together with it’s leading-edge Chroma watermark printing technology, will allow Catalent to deliver new Media Enhanced Packaging solutions to its clients worldwide that will instantly connect consumers to a range of network services from printed packaging, inserts, and labels using smart phones and other digital devices.

Digimarc’s mobile software enables the phone’s camera to “see” digital data that has been embedded into all forms of printed materials, including advertisements, editorial content, brochures, posters, product packaging, labels and more. Unlike 2D barcodes or QR codes, the digital codes do not take up precious space on packages, and they are imperceptible to human senses, but can easily be detected by computers, networks, and today’s most popular smart phones. So they not only open up all sorts of possibilities for more advanced covert counterfeiting measures to be taken, but also for additional patient and Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) information, advice and interaction.

You can read a more information at and

We are really passionate about helping our clients identify and implement new and exciting technologies so why not give us a call now and see how we can help you – +44(0)115 8461914

You can find other related Design Cognition articles on ‘Intelligent’ packaging & technology here:

Design Cognition Technology Insights & News

Chris Penfold

Building competitive advantage through packaging training & coaching

Posted in Design Cognition News, Events, Healthcare & Pharma, Opinion, Product News, Training, Uncategorized on August 2nd, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 1 Comment
As your training partners Design Cognition can provide all of your packaging-related training needs

As your training partners Design Cognition can provide all of your packaging-related training needs

We believe that the old adage that ‘your people are your most important asset’ is true. It’s fundamental that key members of staff keep pace with new technologies, best-practice processes and the continually evolving packaging regulations and standards – not an easy task for busy professionals, is it?

Additionally, it’s essential to keep a teams’ skills ‘honed’ to make sure that they are well-informed in order to help maintain competitive edge.

With that in mind, at Design Cognition, we have created a range of friendly, easy-to-learn and access courses to help you in two important areas:

1. Knowledge

To help you develop your own knowledge and experience, so that you are equipped to make better and more informed decisions.

2. Skills

To help you apply the information provided and learn through your own insights and experience.

The training sessions will be fairly interactive, providing plenty of opportunities for you to bring your current packaging problems along for review and discussion by the tutor, in confidence if necessary.

We guarantee to engage your interest and commitment on the courses and are confident our training will improve your effectiveness at work. In addition, you’ll receive a full set of course notes in a comprehensive ‘takeaway’ package for future reference.

We also encourage you to let us know what you think. We are always able to consider running a bespoke course for you, if that would suit you better, and most courses are available as in-house training programmes at your own premises.

You can find out more about our training events at: Design Cognition training programme

We have put together a range of courses, from areas as diverse as creative and technical disciplines and from processes ranging from artwork generation to cost-optimisation. Some of our initial topics include:

Pharmaceutical packaging, Branding and shelf impact, Introduction to packaging for non-packaging professionals, 2D Data Matrix barcodes, Braille and Sustainability.

Further information and dates will follow on our ‘Training’ page and we are continually adding to these events, so please pop back often to review additions, or ask to join our training mailing list (email: or call +44 (0)115 846 1914.

Chris Penfold

Packaging? You’ve been framed!

Posted in Branding, Design, Environmental Issues, Events, Exhibitions, Gift Packaging, Innovation, Marketing, Opinion, Product News, Uncategorized on July 22nd, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 10 Comments
Phlib (Monkey) Frames

Phlib (Monkey) Frames

So it’s Thursday and it’s time for us to continue our review of High Street Dreams, the BBC ‘reality TV show’ about product branding, packaging & design development and in particular look at ‘Homeware’ and Harry Singer from Somerset with his innovative wall hanging picture ‘Monkey frames’ product.

Harry is a likeable 34 yr old whose idea consists of a fantastic way to display photos using magnets and a metal frame. It was conjured up “in the pub” two yeas ago after ‘connecting’ the thoughts that it’s easy to print photos on-line these days but difficult to display them on the wall. So he made a few ‘Monkey Frames’, as he called them ( a “cheeky, hanging product”), and sold them to friends. The rest ‘is history’ as they say. Before the TV show he’d already spent £4000 developing the idea further, so he was pretty serious about it – a great product that’s really unique. Harry, quoting the likes of Google and IBM, with their straplines “organise the Worlds information” and “a computer on every desk in the home” came up with his own version “get photos on every wall in every home”.

However, after a day spent at Goldsmith’s University on ‘market research’ some interesting issues were highlighted:
1. The name ‘Monkey Frames’ didn’t particularly appeal to students.
2. The modularity (or lack of it) of the system also seemed to be an issue.
So Harry had a lot to think about. Critic Nick Leslau reiterated these concerns about the product concept (being a fixed system for 16 photos) and thought that Harry should rethink it and try to redesign it into a more flexible system. Enter designer Ben DeLeesy, famous for his ‘red carpet’ dresses, who then branched-out into interiors 10 years ago. His philosophy: “The product has to stand the test of time – you can’t just be a fleeting trend”. He now has one of the biggest ranges of ‘homeware’ on the High Street. His thoughts on how to make ‘Monkey Frames’ appeal more to the consumer were: “ingenuity, ambition, hunger & drive. If Harry gets the timing & product right, the £’s & pence will follow big time.” Easy peasy then!

The first job Ben suggested was to undertake a competitor review, looking at products like a ‘shower curtain’ (a hanging photo product). He was quick to point out to Harry, that “It’s not about your love of photos. At the end of the day, this is business!” (Wise words for any new start up entrepreneur). On the flip side, commenting on Harry’s design, he said: “I love them, but you need to break it down into different sizes, not just a ‘one- hit-wonder’. You’ve got to make it more versatile, to reach a broader base. At that point I think it dawned on Harry the amount of work that he still had to do – and in a very short space of time!

To cut a long story short, Harry went away, completely redesigned his product and in the process made it look really ‘tacky’& cheap (to get the cost down) and was pushed (by the HSD evaluating team) into deciding whether to stick with a ‘cheap-jack’ version or as Ben & the team intimated, take it back ‘upmarket’ and redevelop a ‘cheap-jack’ version later. To everyone’s relief he chose the latter – and everybody was happy.

Enter branding agency ‘Heavenly’, who rightly (in my view) affirmed that ‘Monkey Frames’ (as a  brand name doesn’t work too well). It describes the product and not the ‘lifestyle choice’ that the product could deliver. It was also polarizing (aimed at a young consumer) and not of broad appeal.
Their solution:
Brand ‘Phlib’ was unveiled – Photo Liberation – “Set your photos free” – great concept and easy to remember. I like it!

The ‘big test’ was a 1-day test that Jo Malone sorted out at the national lifestyle exhibition – The Ideal Home Show at Earl’s Court in London. The three things that they were trying to evaluate were:
1.    How you sell your product
2.    Whether you are great PR ambassadors to your product
3.    How the consumers view your product
Harry got a great response at the show, making his first sale, but when the ‘financials’ were discussed, it came to light that Harry needed to sell 10,000 units to recoup his tooling costs and 20,000 units to ‘breakeven’ – a big investment on his part and a bit of  ‘millstone round his neck’!

Anyhow, that aside, Jo and Nick put Harry through to pitch to Heals, one of the most influential homeware retailers in the UK. A 200 year old store with a turnover of £37M  and renowned for ‘breaking’ new designers. He got to pitch to Trading Director Gillian and Head of Accessories Furzana. Apparently they get to sit through 1000 pitches per year and of those, roughly 50% are successful.

Suffice it say, they liked Phlib and gave Harry an initial order of 100. Although Harry was clearly disappointed, it presented a great PR opportunity for him to ‘sell his story’ & background to ‘real customers’ and gain an awful lot of knowledge in the process. As Jo pointed out; “This is like the golden ticket’ – you have to take this opportunity and make it your own”

So what a bout the packaging? (hooray I hear you say!). ……The Heals buyers did mention the packaging at a superficial level. They liked the phrase on the promotional poster “photos belong on your wall – not on your hard drive (well done Heavenly again), but as I’ve mentioned on my other posts about this series, the packaging wasn’t entered into in any great depth. Not surprising bearing in mind the time constraints of the show. So let’s have a look at that now and think about some of the packaging issues that Harry will have either now, or potentially in the future, and try to help him pre-empt them.

As well as selling through Heals (assuming that Harry still is), he is also selling ‘on-line’ from his own website. So what sort of things should Harry consider? Let’s have a look at some of them:

Harry’s website does a great job at ‘selling’ the brand. On-line retail means the packaging does not really need to perform a selling role at Point of Sale (POS). I’m not sure if Harry is still selling at Heals and how these products are packaged to provide a consistent brand image with website and POS, but it’s something that needs to be considered carefully. I notice that Harry has already started to incorporate with his frames 3M Command™ Strips, to avoid customers having to hang or screw the frames to the wall and that’s a nice ‘added value’ touch.  Bearing in mind the flexibility of the modular system that he has developed, the packaging provides an ideal opportunity for ‘up-selling’ other frame sizes, providing ideas on wall-layout, and other photo/frame/homeware accessories.

If still selling through retailers such as Heals, Harry is probably already aware that product and bar code information will be required. This may not necessarily be so for Harry’s own website initially, but as his business grows, this type of information will greatly aid stock control. For consumers, useful information could include, at a basic level – frame size, colour, price, contact details but at a more emotional and engaging level, provides an opportunity for Harry to ‘connect’ with his target market. He could provide all sorts of information on the brand heritage, his vision for the business, brand values, the methods he uses to make his frames, the quality of materials & methods used and really build an emotional story on which to ‘pivot’ the brand.

Sealed air transit packaging & inflating machine

Sealed air transit packaging & inflating machine

From Harry’s online store, I should imagine that most of his transport needs are met by a courier such as DHL or other. I’m not sure what sort of stock-holding Heals will want to keep, but it’s certain that they will want to manage & move their stock in the most efficient way possible. To enable this, as well as relevant information, they will want frames boxed into suitable multiples (6, 10, 12 or whatever). The shipping boxes used will require their own ITF bar codes to enable ease of handling & storage.

At least Phlib products are not frames that incorporate glass into their manufacture. This makes them lighter and less likely to get damaged in transit than the ‘glass variety’, although being thin metal, they are liable to get bent. Careful use of traditional ‘padding’ materials like corrugated board and bubble-wrap can provide a simple enough ‘filler’ to protect the product from crushing, but there are a number of alternative organic, compostable and ‘sealed air’ filler materials around

Bamboo transit packaging trays

Bamboo transit packaging trays

now that can also provide a more ‘environmentally friendly’ transit packaging solution. If you want an interesting insight into the perils of picture frame packaging issues and remedies, check out this interesting article on the topic on the Datalite website.

I hope that this has highlighted SOME of the packaging considerations that need to be taken into account when developing and selling a product like picture frames and supplying them to market. I’m not sure how many of these issues were discussed ‘off camera’ during the programme, but they all play their role in a successful launch, and ‘branding’ is only a part of the picture. So well done Harry, for getting this far, and we wish you every success in the future.

You can find out more about Harry’s products from his Phlib website.

Tomorrow is the last installment of our High Street Dreams reviews. I will take a look at the final product covered in the last TV programme and, as well a giving an overview of what happened in that show and how packaging and design aspects were tackled as above, I’ll also take a ‘step-back’ and provide my own thoughts on some of the other important issues that entrepreneur (Bex) needs to consider (or should have considered already) in the successful launch of her products to a mass market! So keep your eyes open for the following posting on this site:

Friday 23rd July: ‘Homeware’Bex Simon an artistic blacksmith who designs beautiful one-off metal-ware objects for the home.

Chris Penfold

Leveraging Captain Morgan’s brand & packaging assets through NEW media

Posted in Branding, Business News, Drinks Packaging, Marketing, Product News, Social Media, Tweets on June 18th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 8 Comments
Captain Morgan wielding his packaging assets

Captain Morgan wielding his packaging assets

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to listen to Paul Walsh CEO of Diageo, the world’s leading spirits, beer and wine company, deliver a ‘marketing’ talk at Nottingham Business School (Nottingham Trent University). It was entitled “Marketing & Communication in 2010 – Responding to the New Stakeholder Condition” and was such a powerful &  interesting insight, I thought I’d provide you with an overview and share some of my thoughts with you.

Diageo is the proud owner of some of the biggest ‘power brands’ on the planet, such as Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Baileys, J&B, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Bushmills & Tanqueray. Both Guinness and Johnnie Walker have been around for over 200 years and Bushmills almost 400 years. Some feat! and a tremendous bank of heritage on which to pull (or push – or whatever you like really!).

Walsh is a fine orator, who is passionate about his brands and company. He talked about the basis of all iconic brands being ‘great products’ driven by FACE (Flair, Agility, Consumer insight and then Executed flawlessly). But he also acknowledged that the global marketplace is constantly evolving which affects the way we live and interact with our favoured brands.  At the same time, broadband is proving to be the biggest technological development since the introduction of television. As the world ‘goes on-line’ a whole new media stream has opened up to feed a young and dynamic market who have ‘bags of energy’ and want to ‘party’.  Walsh highlighted this momentous change by showing the video Shift Happens – some mind-blowing & thought provoking figures (I’m sure you will agree).

So the ‘rules of engagement’ have changed, and indeed are constantly evolving. Advertising spend in traditional media such as magazines, newspapers and TV has ‘nose-dived’ and has been diverted into new media, where Diageo, and other companies for that matter, have “up-weighted their spend in the digital space” and enjoyed much bigger ‘bangs for their buck’, realising huge cost savings.

It is clear that Diageo have become masters of leveraging the new technology. Key to their success, according to Walsh, can be attributed to a 5-point plan:

1. Having a good product

2. Being clear about the target

3. Identifying the single most compelling benefit

4. Effectively dramatising that benefit

5. Saying and constantly repeating it through the most effective channels

Affiliated to this is the ability for brands to attract and become “participants in a conversation NOT simply involved in a top-down message”. Metaphorically, he likened this to a change from a game of ten-pin-bowling, with a one-ball strike to a game of pinball, banging, bouncing, to-ing and fro-ing through a maze of buffers and pins. In this new media world, Walsh alluded to 3 types of people:

Passive participants – Those who are completely passive and soak up all of the information ‘thrown at them’ via static websites

Engaged participants – people who are engaged and share information via social media platforms

Active participants – those who voraciously add content on-line and are hugely influential

These 3 groups of people seem to inhabit this digital world in approximate ratios of 90 : 9 : 1 (respectively). It is the small group of active participants have been key to Diageo’s new media brand success. By influencing these people in this sector they have turn their brands from on-shelf icons to (almost) living and breathing entities.

A classic example of this success is Captain Morgan, which has rocketed over recent years and now holds a prestigious No2 position for premium rum brands. The driver behind this has been the building and grooming of the ‘Captain’ icon as a ‘living legend’. This hasn’t happened by accident. A carefully orchestrated campaign has evolved through the ‘Captain’s Cup’, video and photo ‘collateral’ and word-of-mouth – driven by social media. The Captain has a certain physical stance or  ‘pose’ and when an interpretation of that ‘pose’ was ’struck by a famous US NFL football star on the pitch during the Super-bowl, it took on a completely new iconic dimension. There followed a series of copycat ‘poses’ by a number of esteemed brand advocates, including David Letterman on his prime-time  TV show. Media-savvy Diageo capitalised on this by offering a $10,000 prize to famous people striking the pose in public places & at high-profile events, all building on the character of ‘The Captain’ and acting s a ‘viral’ growth driver for the ‘living legend’. It has proved a very cost-effective way of marketing.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that this type of ‘non-sponsorship’ could be classed as a more passive form of  ‘ambush marketing, which is actually very topical at the moment. In the South African World Cup this week (14th June), 2 Dutch women were arrested for ambush advertising and 36 women ejected from one of the stadiums when they were spotted wearing short orange dresses made by the Dutch brewery Bavaria, in conflict with  Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser who are the official beer of the event. It led to quite a fuss and ITV media pundit Robbie Earle was sacked from his role when it was claimed by FIFA that he had sold tickets meant for family and friends on to the Dutch beer company.

Getting back to Diageo, another fine example of leveraging the new technology, has been the Smirnoff ‘be there’ media campaign built on a ‘viral’ marketing platform. Here young (25-30 yr old) party-goers were encouraged, via social networking sites like Twitter & Facebook, to provide ideas on their perfect party events – a party that they would remember for all time – to have ‘been there’. Diageo then picked the best ideas, provided funding to hold the event and a short video was shot at each which were then posted on YouTube. Here’s an example of a Smirnoff ‘Be There‘ TV advert. These have also proved a phenomenal success for Diageo at moderate expense – a terrific Return on Investment (ROI).

So, all in all, Diageo have shown great foresight in their on-line endeavours; an area that has worked well and is sure to be developed by them further across all of their brands. If companies want to stay ‘ahead of the game’ in an increasingly fragmented market, they need to embrace and adopt new ways of working and promoting themselves (and their brands), using creativity, flair and imagination. In this respect they could learn much from Diageo.

It also goes without saying, that in these recessionary times, where marketing budgets are being slashed, left, right and centre in huge cost-cutting exercises, the time and effort invested will also reap huge benefits in cost and greater ROI…..and will also work wonders for a brands’ ’street cred’ ;-)   Why not get in touch and see how we could help you Contact Design Cognition OR, if you’re a more hands on person why not have a look at our forthcoming Branding and Shelf Impact training course.

Chris Penfold

Have you recently developed packaging that is worthy of an award?

Posted in Associations, Awards, Design, Events, Innovation, Product News on June 10th, 2010 by Chris Penfold – 16 Comments
Starpack packaging awards logo

Starpack packaging awards 2010

If you’ve got a recently launched product that displays some unusual, differentiated, innovative or unusual packaging – or just looks really ‘cool’ – why not enter it into the Starpack Awards?

The Starpack Industry Awards are the pre-eminent UK awards scheme for packaging design and innovation. The Starpack Awards have been recognising innovative packaging design and technology since 1960. That makes 2010 Starpack’s 51st year!

This year’s categories have been chosen to reflect key areas of packaging applications and packaging development.

The closing date for entries is 25 June 2010.

Design Cognition are proud to support this great initiative which is designed to promote innovation in the industry. If you’ve got a great idea but don’t know what to do with it – why not give us a call, to review your options.

You can find out more about The Starpack Industry Awards and get an application form, by following this link to the IOM3 website. GO FOR IT!!