Sidel on Share a Coke, beverage personalisation, and adaptable printing runs

Consumers want product personalisation: How must packaging processes adapt?

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

The Share a Coke campaign made the most of shorter, adaptable printing runs
The Share a Coke campaign made the most of shorter, adaptable printing runs

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Beverage brands are constantly looking for ways to personalise products for consumers – placing new demands on packaging, says Sidel.

The PET packaging company says small batch sizes, flexible print runs, and multi-purpose production lines are needed to meet the trend of personalisation in the beverage industry.  

It adds use of shrink sleeve labelling is rising, because it gives brands more space to convey messages to consumers (particularly when labelling covers the full bottle).

Share a Coke

Raffaele Pace, labelling product manager, Sidel, told seasonal variations or limited edition drinks are popular, tying in with consumers’ constant demand for something different.

“Discovering ways in which the consumer experience can be made more individual and personal is very much a current trend in the beverage industry,” ​he said.

“This usually requires much smaller batches of bottles than usual - with their own specific labelling - being produced in very short times. This type of product personalisation is usually in connection with the celebration of a particular event such as a sporting occasion.

“Beverage packaging personalisation is definitely becoming more important than ever before to attract consumers’ attention.”

Pace uses Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign as an example.

“The campaign ran over 30 European countries and featured common names in place of the company’s iconic logo,” ​he explained.

“Each country was asked to nominate 150 of its own most commonly given first names - and these were printed on the labels and used in the local advertising. 

“This campaign, which made the most of shorter adaptable printing runs, proved a resounding success - one that is likely to be seen a great deal more in future.”

Shrink sleeve labelling

Faster changeovers

This demand for personalised packaging places difference demands on the packaging industry, Pace added.

“Flexibility has become a valuable benefit to beverage producers when it comes to labelling a variety of beverage types and bottle formats,” ​he said.  

“Important priorities today are faster product and format changeovers, simple operations and optimised processes that use the same line for different label types.”

Retailers and consumers are placing more importance on sustainability credentials when choosing beverages – another aspect production needs to react to, Pace added.

“Producers seek solutions that minimise environmental impact while maximising efficiency, decreasing costs and ensuring reliable performance. While thinner labels lead to lower resource use and ultimately lower costs, less glue can also simplify the recycling process, reduce maintenance and increase machine efficiency.”

Shrink sleeve labelling

Sidel has seen ‘exceptional growth’ in the use of shrink sleeve labelling over the past 15 years.

Sidel_Labelling_Raffaele Pace
Raffaele Pace, Sidel

Pace said one of the advantages of this format is it can cover the whole bottle and cap – giving brands more space to convey messages to consumers.

“In a competitive marketplace, the total coverage offers greater product marketing opportunities to implement all necessary product information with plenty of room for colourful designs,” ​he said.

“When applying sleeves on PET bottles, there are no restrictions on container shape because the film is heat shrunk into position and adapts to any surface.”

Pace refers to Alexander Watson Associates data, which saw shrink sleeve labelling represent around 20% of all market labelling production in 2013.

“It is one of the fastest growing formats.  While global growth for all label formats seems to have stabilised at around 3.5% in 2013, the sleeve market remains ahead of regional and global growth rates by a factor of 1.5 to 2.0, depending on the format.

“Shrink sleeve labels present branding opportunities to optimise shelf appeal in an increasingly competitive marketplace. The potential to achieve more customised, innovative and eye catching label layouts, is the main reason behind the increasing use and success of heat-shrink sleeve labelling.”

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