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Holographic packaging for cosmetic and fragrance products.

Since the mid-1990s holographic packaging has been highly visible in the dental care aisles of retailers, but this, and chewing gum, has been one of the few sectors to use holographic packaging as part of product branding, rather than as short-term and seasonal promotional packaging. But perhaps cosmetics and - particularly - fragrances are joining this small group of products that use holographics as a part of the permanent package design. Glenn Wood went exploring the perfume shelves for Holography News[R].

The use of holographic packaging materials for fragrances is not new. Addict by Dior and Very Irresistible by Givenchy (both womens and mens versions) have been presented in holographic boxes for four years and Magnifique by Lancome for almost two years.

Conversely, Mariah Carey's trio of perfumes with the generic name of Lollipop Bling and Britney Spears' Radiance have only made their appearance in the last month or so. In the esoteric world of celebrity fragrances, both products are sold by Elizabeth Arden Inc (which purchased Liz Clairborne Perfumes in 2009).

These brands use holographic packaging enhancement, but in the fragrance business the box rarely figures in promotional material - the bottle is the distinctive, branding focus. Ironic, because the bottle is mostly hidden inside the box and in the competitive area of retail shelves, it's the product in the eye catching box which attracts more attention.

Looking for Shelf Impact

Lollipop Bling has been designed with its own POS display but this is not used in all stores. When simply placed alongside other products in a retail situation, Lollipop Bling fails to attract the eye because the diffractive aspect of the holographic foil is mostly covered by opaque ink, leaving only tiny accent features which are only noticeable on fairly close examination.

When having to fight with other boxes (as in the Macy's display above), the effect is unnoticeable. Conversely, Radiance, with its 100% holographic coverage, jumps off the shelf when compared with its conservative neighbors. The luminosity of the box means it seems to glow with an inner radiance. The effect is simultaneously bold yet understated. It stands out from the crowd with a clean elegance and tastefully avoids any hint of gaudiness. In contrast to 'Bling' which uses holographic technology to accent the printing, 'Radiance' makes use of the print to accent the holography. The diffractive technology draws the eye of the potential client, enticing them into that all important second glance when they might otherwise have walked by, while the package reinforces the message of the name of the fragrance by conveying the feeling of radiant energy. And, of course, the subliminal message is that the wearer of the fragrance will also stand out in a crowd.

Bling and Radiance make use of the most basic of holographic designs - a simple rainbow foil which exhibits a plain, diffractive effect regardless of the direction in which it is viewed. The packaging for Magnifique also uses a diffraction pattern but one which has diffractive stripes in the vertical direction giving a sense of movement to design. In fact, the packaging carton for Magnifique has been completely covered with a transparent red ink so all that is left is the movement, the rainbow colors having all been suppressed apart from the red.

White Diamonds, on the other hand, features a custom-designed holographic material. This fragrance is associated with the actress Elizabeth Taylor and is distributed by Elizabeth Arden. In October, 2009, Elizabeth Arden Inc. signed a multi-year consultancy arrangement for outsourcing packaging and print management contract with the British company Williams Lea. The objective was to manage sourcing activities for Elizabeth Arden's flexible packaging and print requirements. Williams Lea offers process expertise and strategic sourcing capabilities, which are expected to secure savings and operational efficiencies for Elizabeth Arden.

Custom Made, Registered Image

American holographic producer Hazen Paper (see HN Vol 23 No 12) produced the innovative holographic design which uses a registered image. The White Diamond image has a convergent point which must appear accurately positioned on the carton and accurately positioned relative to the print. The latter registration problem was avoided in this instance by making the 'print' - the White Diamonds name - part of the holographic image.

In practice, a company like Hazen Paper can offer guidance at the outset of a project on how to design the holographic component with the final effect in mind. The current president and Hazen Paper creates the holographic imagery in house and laminates it onto the carton stock required for the final package. This material then goes to a printer who adds whatever print is required and then stamps out the material and forms it into a carton ready to receive the final product. And as CEO John Hazen put it to Holography News, 'We can help create a more effective result if we understand the objectives of the packaging campaign from the outset'.

Despite the interest in holographic packaging for perfumes, it tends still to be purely decorative and largely seasonal or promotional, with different designs used for each gift season - the packaging is not part of the branding. Nor is the security value of holographic material rarely, if ever, given serious thought.

Cartondruck-Ingenia Tie-Up

On this topic it is interesting to note that CD Cartondruck AG, headquartered in Obersulm, Germany, and a leading manufacturer of high quality boxes for the cosmetic, fragrance and luxury goods industries, has recently signed an anti-counterfeiting technology partnership with British firm Ingenia. The two companies will work together to offer Ingenia Technology's Laser Surface Authentication (LSA) anti-counterfeiting technology as a service to its customers. LSA technology scans the surface of products to generate an intrinsic 'fingerprint' of each item - using a secure database and field scanners, each product can be authenticated anywhere in the world and tracked through the entire supply chain.

Perfumes are not sold in the quantities of toothpaste, but the industry still requires large volumes of packaging - and it is highly competitive in terms of seeking to catch the customer's eye. So just maybe this is a sector poised to become a good customer for holography. But the holography industry may need to invest in communicating the benefits of its materials to the perfume brand managers and packaging specifiers and designers.

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Title Annotation:Holographic Packaging
Publication:Holography News
Date:Oct 1, 2010
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