Last year’s inaugural brandinnovators issue was such a success that we wondered how we might top it.

Last year’s inaugural brandinnovatorsissue was such a success that we wondered how we might top it. But, given that the “packaging-as-strategy” mindset seems to have broken into the consumer goods sector in a big way, we had little trouble finding examples of brand marketers, package designers and innovations professionals deploying buzz-worthy packaging strategies. The trouble was paring down the list.

We ultimately keyed in on a pair of retailers, a host of CPG marketers and an entrepreneur-all of which have deployed packaging to great effect. Some have reinvented their brands. Others, entire categories. And one in particular (hint: HQ is in Arkansas) stands to change the way the entire packaged goods sector works.

Our purpose in showcasing these individuals is twofold. First, we are more than thrilled to give them their due as advocates of packaging. But we also have a larger agenda. Many of you tell us you still have trouble convincing the “powers that be” to invest in packaging strategies. Well, listen up. This is the issue to help you make your case.

Let the success stories of Timberland, Wal-Mart, Heinz and Evian sell the merits of packaging for you. Take this copy ofBRANDPACKAGINGinto your bosses’ offices, or into their bosses’ offices, and plop it on their desks. Heck, we’ll even offer to send your boss a copy of this issue direct (give us a shout, and we’ll do just that!). The collective ‘thump’ of our magazine hitting the C-suite is a sound that could signal a new era for packaging.

To be sure, this year’s brandinnovators are to be celebrated for their individual successes. But, imagine the credit they’d deserve if their successes served collectively to elevate the role of packaging in the brand marketing mix.

Read on for more on this year’sbrandinnovators, and join us in honoring them in a more formal setting, at a cocktail party during ourPackaging that Sells Vconference on October 4 in Chicago (visitwww.packagingthatsells.comfor details on the event).

Until then, enjoy the issue. Take a stand in support of packaging. And, if you need it, we’re here to help!

-Jennifer Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief, and Pauline Tingas, Senior Editor

Editor’s Note: BRANDPACKAGINGwould like to thank the following for their nominations and cooperation in producing this issue: Heineken USA, Heinz, Product Ventures, Kimberly-Clark, Publix, Evian North America, Sam’s Club, Timberland, Bond No.9.