As products on the shelves proliferate, brands need to differentiate more and more, and storytelling becomes critical. More than 70% of buying decisions are made in-store so packaging needs to tell that story at one glance. O-I Europe’s Head of Marketing Communications, Marie-Laure Susset explains how heritage cues influence packaging design in the glass sector.
Within a segment like spirits, there are similarities and codes highlighted by product type and geography. For instance, a Czech or Polish vodka will contain distinct clues on the bottle as to its source. These brands tend to use a heavy shape and chunky embossing. The fundamentally square, green packs of German shorts (Jaegermeister and Helbing to name but two) contrast with the ambers and rounded shapes of whisky-based liqueurs such as Stroma, Drambuie and Baileys.
This is very different from, say, a Bacardi rum, which has a more generic appeal, with point of origin seeming less important than the globally-promoted brand image.
Similarly, Scotch whisky bottles tend to be more distinct than those for Irish whiskey. Consider the pot still neck shape of many Scotch whiskies and the use of embossing to highlight authenticity, heritage and Scottishness of the brands. Even a brand creating a modern image, like Teacher’s, uses stylised thistles on the bottles.
The shorthand communicated here is that where the provenance and authentic source of the spirit is most important for the brand, then the more distinctive the bottle will be.
Wine also has its specific design signals, which as much differentiate the type of wine as its terroir. The Bordeaux, Burgundy or champagne shapes are all different but reflect tradition – they immediately indicate the style of the wine, even if the product is from a different country. For instance, a pinot noir will almost invariably come in a Burgundy-shaped bottle, no matter where the grapes are grown or the wine is filled.
On the other hand, rosé wines tend to be much more innovative with packaging shapes. Vintners, like Producteurs de Pleimont, have adopted embossed bases to create a point of difference: designs such as wavy lines in the push up create a reflection and visual impact through the transparency of the flint bottle and the clear color of rosé wine.
Some of the most intriguing examples are provided by crossover products, when cues from one segment are deliberately thrown into relief in an unusual context. A good example of this is the glass bottle for Tuborg Boilermaker, designed by O-I for production in Russia. The beer is flavoured with bourbon whiskey and Carlsberg added cues from bourbon packaging into the beer bottle design.
O-I design teams around the world are working with customers to ensure they receive the optimum pack for their premium lines taking these myriad influences into account. Whatever the brand objectives, whatever the story, glass has the flexibility to bring it to life.
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