Brand Packaging

Dual-chamber Bottle pours memorable hot chocolate drink

September 1, 2004

Dual-chamber Bottle pours memorable hot chocolate drink

by Rob Croft
Blow-molded containers with full-body, shrink-sleeve labels have invaded nearly every supermarket aisle. Their popularity loosely builds upon the principles of “bigger graphics are better” and “an ergonomic shape leads to a preferred physical package.”
Mix and simmer with some “voodoo” consumer research, the latest supplier offering and suddenly every marketer has got one of these packages.
But from a brand-building standpoint, this emerging “generic” can be bad news. The number of “Coffee Mate clones” has reached saturation point.
 Marketers are pushing savvy structural packaging designers to deliver a strong point of difference with a configuration that is quite simply, more original and relevant to the brand.
Our “blue-sky” hot chocolate syrup concept—depicted in the illustration—shows how a really breakthrough design can be based upon a strong front profile and a keen label-panel shape.
The dual-chamber package dispenses chocolate syrup through an inverted closure in the bottle’s base and toppings—such as mini pink marshmallows—from a second container or cup molded from clarified, tinted polypropylene that “snaps” onto the top of the bottle.
‘Single-handed’ operation
The form language communicates the duality of the package with its two openings and twin grip points. Consumers can open and articulate both closures with one hand, like twirling a baton. Indeed, the creation of a premium hot beverage involves a cool, own-able hand gesture, in which the shape of the package is key.
The lower grip point serves as a pedestal that “floats” a pleasing oval label panel that doubles as a squeeze zone for dispensing the chocolate syrup.
Subtle ribs molded into the side of the bottle subliminally connote the dividing lines in a chocolate bar and provide a tactile sensation against the palm. The low-density polyethylene bottle bears a sparkly finish that mimics the look and texture of liquid chocolate.
This design demonstrates that a well-framed label panel and “cool” surfaces can compete against brands that choose to follow the path of shrink-sleeve packaging. As product managers are all too aware, the key to success often lies within the brand essence and product character.
The creation of a package that inherently builds product value and enhances the functionality of the offering, rather than engaging in on-shelf one-upmanship, can seem like a daunting task. But it can ultimately produce a more individual and meaningful packaging structure that others cannot easily duplicate. BP
The author, Rob Croft, is Managing Partner of Swerve Inc., specialists in 3-D brand design. Contact him at 212.742.9560 or rob@swerveinc.com