Ed #16 Digital Possibilities

Mass customization—innovation and success for a big brand.

Take one of the world’s best-known soft drink brands for instance. Thanks to the latest technology advancements, the ability to perfectly and consistently match the brand’s icon red made digital printing and mass customization possible for labels on bottles. And so, a brilliant idea was born.

That idea: to put a person’s name in place of the brand name on the bottle packaging, in the brand typestyle. Simple, powerful, unique. In 20-plus countries, lists of the 150 most popular first names were developed, and through variable-input printing those names were randomized and printed, a different name on each bottle. A case of 24 might have 24 different names. More than one billion labels, 3,000-plus names, all customized.

Consumers literally drank it up. There were stories of supermarkets having a person walk in and buy an entire shelf of cases in search of his or her name. Discussions on return on investment were easy and filled with smiles due to sales uplifts in each market where the campaign ran. Sales increases not driven by price promotions, mind you. These were sales at full price to people who gladly paid it.

Awareness of digital print’s potential has increased steadily with each innovator who sees—and realizes—new possibilities.

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