Market Driven Innovations

March 1, 2007
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Newfound Energy
A unique take on a rapidly growing product category, G Pure Energy has launched to fill the void for high-end energy drinks (who knew?). Created by the maker of Norway’s VOSS Artesian Water—an equally premium water brand—G Pure Energy is a lightly carbonated energy drink housed in a weighty 200 mL glass bottle that nicely conveys its luxury positioning. The brand also suggests an alternate use for the product: as a mixer. Combine it with vodka, gin, whiskey, tequila, rum or fruit juices to create energy-inducing cocktails. G Pure Energy is available at select clubs, bar, hotels and restaurants for $2.99.
Chinese import
Two years after it acquired the Chinese beer brand, Anheuser-Busch has started importing Harbin Lager into the United States and United Kingdom in packaging that reflects the host country’s traditions. A transparent rice paper wrap, with Chinese lettering and decorative floral elements, makes an overt connection to the brand’s heritage, while the large 600-mL glass bottle more subtly evokes the Chinese tradition of sharing. “There is an aura about the Far East that connects with today’s upscale consumers,” says Jon Hoffmeister, brand manager at Anheuser-Busch. “From the unique transparent rice paper to the signature deep green, ruby red and gold colors, Harbin’s packaging captures the mystique and intrigue of Asian culture.”
Fire it up
Stephens & Company recently introduced CharCones, a product that simplifies the process of lighting charcoal briquettes. The single-use container of charcoal is placed directly on the grill and then lit; the bottom portion is molded pulp (virgin and recycled paper) while the remainder is 14-point paperboard with a proprietary coating in a semi-gloss finish. Once ignited, the package is designed to burn from the inside out, creating a chimney effect with the carton that enhances the fire. “CharCones fits perfectly with our strategy of segmenting the outdoor cooking market with unique, disruptive packaging,” says Michael Stephens, company founder and CEO. The concept was developed internally. Graphics are by JHI (www.jhigoodidea.com) in Richmond, Va.
Quenching Derby fever
Whiskey-based mint juleps are the cocktail of choice at the Kentucky Derby. So it’s only natural that Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of the “biggest two minutes in sports”, has released a 2007 Derby bottle—the ninth in a series of packages commemorating the high-spirited event. Featuring a label by Chattanooga Label Systems (www.clsdeco.com) with a silk-screened image of jockeys mixing with the crowd, the custom glass bottle is manufactured by O-I (www.o-i.com) and is shaped like a flask, with curved shoulders, squared sides and a broad, flat face. “We take pride in showing off our bourbon with a simple, yet complex bottle,” says David Scheurich, Woodford Reserve Distillery plant manager. The new 750-mL release retails for about $30.
McD’s casting call
In mid-March, McDonald’s unveiled packaging featuring 24 consumers selected from an online global “casting call,” which received 13,000 entries. Starting in the United States and Canada, the new faces will be featured on McDonald’s cups and bags—and will be seen by 52 million people a day as the packaging rolls out globally in second quarter 2007. The winning entrants range in age from five to 50+ years and were chosen based on submissions that captured the brand’s “i’m lovin’ it” tagline. “The thousands of extraordinary entries submitted in our first-ever online global casting call far exceeded our expectations,” said McDonald’s Global CMO Mary Dillon. The initiative reflects an ongoing interest in “user-generated” content in marketing.
A Wrigley sensation
Though the confectionary business has been trending toward pellet and tab gum formats, Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company unveiled “5”, a sugar-free chewing gum in stick form that will launch nationwide in early July. Martin Schlatter, Wrigley’s chief marketing officer, says teens and young adults will be drawn to the “revolutionary” packaging, a 15-stick envelope pack that will glow slightly in darkened environments like night clubs or movie theaters. Named “5” to evoke the five senses, the gum’s Rain (spearmint) flavor creates a tingling sensation, while the Cobalt (peppermint) flavor will cool and Flare (cinnamon) will warm as the gum is chewed. Carrying a suggested retail price of $1.49, the new brand was developed at Wrigley’s Goose Island innovation facility in Chicago.

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