Lafley was emphasizing the importance of point-of-sale decision-making, and his phrase resonated so much with retailers and brand owners, it’s now part of the marketing lexicon. Within this 2-4 second window, a potential customer is inundated with a variety of stimuli as products attempt to engage and tempt by appealing to as many senses as possible, with visual appeal usually playing a primary role.
A package’s shelf appeal is of paramount importance in a wide range of end use markets. Health & beauty, food & beverage, automotive, household products, wine & spirits, to name a few, all rely on packaging to help products stand out during that critical First Moment of Truth. Often, brand owners turn to foil and metallic materials to embellish their labels in an effort to stand out from the competition.
Scott Tacosik, product manager – Graphics, at Kurz Transfer Products, Inc., says, “Point-of-sale plays an especially important role because that is where more than 70% of spontaneous purchases are made. With no classical media advertising conducted for more than 80% of all products, having the right packaging design is often the decisive factor for purchasing decisions. The shape, color and appealing design of a package must communicate the attractiveness of the product in the sea of product proliferation of similar items on the store shelves.”
Tacosik points out that metallic decoration offers a diversity of design options for ensuring the attractive aesthetic presentation of products. “The continuing trend of maximizing design possibilities is evident in the ever-increasing number of products that are finished with stamping foils. Metallic foils set a brand apart by providing differentiation and value which adds ‘emotionalization,’ image enhancement and also brand awareness and protection,” he says.
Foil and metallic substrates provide more than just aesthetic value. For example, as Tacosik mentions, foil can be used to ensure product authenticity and prevent counterfeiting. Metallic substrates with holographic effects are used because they are difficult to copy, and can support hidden messages. In addition, foil substrates can serve as a barrier, protecting a package’s contents from moisture and extreme temperatures. To this end, there are many foil applications being used for food and pharmaceutical safety.
Joel Ulrich, Roll Product manager at Spinnaker Coating, finds that both converters and brand owners are interested in both the appearance and performance of Spinnaker’s foils and metalized products. “The metallic properties of these materials offer the ability to provide eye-catching features to a label. Also, the metalization offers great protection against migration of adhesive components or oils, as well as creating opaque barriers for block-out type applications. The most common applications would include beverage, food packaging, candle labels, nutraceuticals and promotional type labels,” he says.
According to Jean Willson, market development manager, Wine & Spirits, for UPM Raflatac, the popularity of foil and metallic substrate usage in the label industry is on the rise. She says, “Brand owners like the sparkle of the metalized paper or foil to help the product stand out on the shelf. The metalized paper adds a depth and richness to the label that is not readily available on paper products.”
Providing the ‘bling’
Whether it’s hot foil or cold foil, or metallic paper or film, label industry suppliers offer a wide range of products designed to provide both the coveted shimmery effect as well as functionality.
Avery Dennison offers a full line of products ranging from metallic films and paper, both available with a silver, gold or platinum look. “We offer a wide variety, and a unique thing about Avery Dennison is we can also engineer solutions. We have a team of technical experts, and we can create new, custom products or look for new raw materials to make that custom solution for a unique application. We leverage our suppliers’ base for new things,” says Anh Marella, Avery Dennison’s senior product manager, Select Solutions Collection.
Marella sees potential in metalized substrates playing a role in the current personalization trend. “It will be interesting to see how much more demand there will be because consumers want things to be customized for their particular need or interest, kind of like the Coca-Cola bottle example where people put names on the bottles and things like that,” she says, “Metalized films and papers may become a bigger player within other product packaging because the consumer wants to do something different. I think that will really be something to keep an eye out for, because it is unique, adds more bling and catches the eye. We’ve seen, at least from a volume standpoint, more sales of our Bright Silver metalized paper and Brushed Platinum over the last 12 months – at least that’s what we’ve seen in the label industry in terms of consumption.”
In October, UPM Raflatac launched a new decorative labeling product range for the Americas, which includes metalized films, holographic films, metalized papers and more. Bruce Ruppert, product development manager at UPM Raflatac, says, “If a brand owner is looking for the ‘flash’ of a metalized product, UPM Raflatac provides a wide range of options. We feel providing a full range of products gives the brand owner and label designers the best chance in balancing shelf appeal and price.”
On the film side, Ruppert says, downgauging has been the continued trend. “The introduction of the 1.6 mil PP Chrome is the perfect example of this,” he says. “It’s also an example of our efforts to help brand owners meet sustainability goals. Pairing the product with a 0.92 PET liner also reduces the overall impact compared to a standard 2.0 mil PP Chrome face with a 1.2 mil PET liner.”
On the paper side, UPM Raflatac offers Silverac, a standard silver metalized paper, as well as a wet strength version named Silvervac WSA. “For the foils, we offer both silver and gold in bright and dull finishes,” adds Jean Willson. “These products are used in a variety of markets, but primarily in the wine/spirits/beverage market. But silver labels are also seen on meat packaging, spices, school glue labels, food jars, cosmetics and many other retail segments.”
According to Willson, a recent trend has been for converters to floodcoat the Silvervac material with ink resulting in a true opaque product. She explains, “The brand owner may want a true opaque red label where no light can be transmitted through the label. Instead of a black flood coat on the back of a paper label – which distorts the red color – the converter will use the metalized paper printed with red, which results in a brilliant red color with full opacity.”
For metalized papers, Spinnaker offers a Basic Silver Metalized Paper, Bright Silver Metalized Paper, and a Reverse Coated Bright Silver Metalized Paper. “By having the metalization on the backside, our Reverse Coated Bright Silver Metalized Paper offers excellent opacity and very good barrier characteristics for oil migration for applications such as candle labels,” says Ulrich.
Spinnaker also offers a 2.0 mil PTC Bright Silver Metalized BOPP, 2.3 mil TC White Metalized BOPP, and a Holographic Rainbow Polyester facestock. Ulrich adds, “These products offer excellent opacity for a high quality appearance on a variety of prime label applications, such as food packaging and craft beer labels. All of these products are available through our industry-leading Trimless program,” he says. “That means customers who want to try these products can do so with minimal risk. Instead of having to order a full master, they can order as little as a single 3" x 5,000’ roll.”
Kurz’s Tacosik emphasizes that with brands always looking for ways to differentiate products, hot stamping is a great way to add value while gaining an emotional reaction from consumers. He says, “The visual and tactile effects of hot stamping invoke curiosity and invite the buyer to purchase the products. And embossed and structured stampings further enhance the role in building an emotional quality to a product.”
There is a clear demand for a process that can decorate products both economically and effectively, Tacosik says. “The cold foil process is so cost effective that exclusive foil decoration is feasible even for mass-produced goods. The low initial cost at the converter level and the process capabilities of cold foiling is driving the demand. Kurz products include overprintable foils for both web and sheetfed printers that make foil decoration goals easily achievable.”