Packaging innovation is a key focus area for
The stickers, the result of a partnership with football collectibles publisher Panini™, allowe fans to peel a player or "national pride" sticker off the back of their
The campaign ran in countries across Western Europe and Central & Southern Europe, with around 172 million labels carrying Panini stickers and 93 million national pride stickers.
Not easily, is the answer.
According to Brussels-based Gregory Bentley,
Precision and Partnership Essential
Close collaboration with operations teams at
Bentley says that in order to minimize disruption to the production lines, where downtime comes at a high cost, the intricacy of the project was handled outside the plant.
“We tried to remove as much complexity as possible for our bottling partners," he said. "That’s why all the delicate elements – to do with the assembly and printing of the sticker labels – was done in a completely separate supply chain, working with partners in Denmark and Germany. We then delivered the completed reels of the sticker labels to the bottler which they could simply place onto the production line as normal.”
Teamwork made it happen
"In terms of scale and speed to market, this was one of the biggest and most ambitious packaging innovations we have ever undertaken in Western Europe," said Patrick Condon, Coca-Cola Western Europe commercialization and supply chain manager. "We have taken what was a simple idea on paper, back in June 2015, and have developed, validated and invested in application technology with the first commercial printing and application of stickers happening just six months later. We have activated this innovation on our biggest volume products during one of the most critical periods of the year, overcoming many challenges along the way. Overall, this giant undertaking is down to a massive collaborative effort between different departments in
Bentley and his team are now looking ahead to the next innovation. Having mastered the technical and supply chain challenges behind this latest project, they are exploring how the same model can be applied to new ideas.
“It opens the door for more innovation on labels," he said. "Because we have the technical know-how and also satisfied the bottler that this can be done without any disruption, we can think of other ways to use it. We have some good things in the pipeline I can’t tell you about now, but you can be sure that now we have this capability, we will be using it with some great new ideas.”
Labels have become a key area of packaging innovation, driven by the success of the Share a Coke campaign and the increasing sophistication of digital printing technology.
“The label is the easiest and most cost-effective part of the pack to work with – you can do a lot with it to engage and interact with the consumer," Bentley said. "There is a great deal of energy and focus on this in our industry, and I think we are leading the way."