Insightful Labeling Tactics Cut Through Clutter In Crowded Categories

The label can provide the marketing difference if you know what drives consumer purchase decisions and identify untapped niches.
Many categories are swimming in an ocean of products. It seems as though one brand differs little from the one standing next to it on the shelf.
In this environment, the label is taking on greater importance as a difference-maker. The label may be the chief distinction between two brands, and a winning design just may tip the scales toward your brand.
The road to an effective label in a crowded category starts with compiling insights into what drives consumer purchases. Consider, too, identifying unmet niches in your category.
Do consumers crave interaction with a product before they make the purchase decision? Are you emphasizing the product benefits that matter most to them?
Two examples of the label functioning as a strong marketing tool appear in the beverage aisle. Bottles of Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons’ AriZona Infused Water provide “sensory appeal” through a pair of labels that communicate the “infused with fruit” benefit.
Consumers can almost taste the difference as they hold the bottle in their hands.
Further down the beverage aisle, Campbell Soup Co. has joined the parade of soy-based drinks. But where competitors focus on the nutritional aspects of their product, Campbell’s V8 Splash Smoothies uses its label to spin a fruit “swirl” that spotlights the brand’s enjoyment factor.
The following examples present labeling tactics that give products additional marketing muscle in crowded product categories.
1. Unleashing enjoyment assets to extend a brand
Campbell Soup Co. extended its V8 line by positioning a new soy-based drink as a sub-brand rather than signaling a new-product introduction. V8 Splash Smoothies appeals to health-conscious women 35 and older.
When introducing Smoothies, Campbell’s wanted to offer energizing nutrition in a beverage that satisfies an active family. However, it recognized that with the emerging glut of soy-based competitors on the shelf, it could differentiate by conveying Smoothies’ refreshing aspects instead of functional benefits.
Trade dress for V8 Splash Smoothies revolves around “fruit” embedded in a soy “swirl” pattern on the label. The graphic uses bright background colors that appeal to both women and another large market of consumers—Hispanics.
“When you talk about Smoothies, you talk about fruit flavors coming through, the feel in the mouth, the satisfaction,” explains William Lunderman, Vice President Global Design at Campbell’s.
“Perception is reality when it comes to the label design.”
The periwinkle blue in the cap and the Smoothies name on the label both appeal to women. They also signal the brand’s healthful benefits on a subliminal level.
The product’s message of refreshment—Ted Mininni at Design Force describes it as the “Enjoyment Asset”—continues on the PET bottle. A whimsical depiction of splashing liquid is molded into the plastic above the label.
Where to go for More Information...
© Label design services. At Design Force, contact Ted Mininni at 856.810.2277, ext. 10 or

2. Providing a Different Look In a Tube
Gourmet jellies and spreads typically come in small jars. La Tomate in Montreal wanted a defining presence in this category at specialty food stores for its new line of seven tomato-based, natural products. The answer came in an aluminum tube.
The tube, at 11/2 inches in diameter and 7 inches long in the 5-ounce size or 11/4 inches in diameter and 6 inches long in the 3.4-ounce size, provides a “billboard” for the brand.
This “label” area provides ample space for a “clean” design through elegant typography and razor-sharp graphics to support the brand positioning.
Tubes feature lithographic printing in three colors. Consumers can see the tubes through a window die-cut in the secondary package, a paperboard carton.
The tube offers another benefit. It reduces air “suck back,” which helps to preserve shelf life of the “natural” product inside.
“This is smart packaging, easy to use and in line with our image” as an upscale product, notes Marie Claude Fournier, La Tomate President. “Consumers are enthusiastic about the package and love the product inside.”
The La Tomate line appears in gourmet boutiques, fine grocery stores and outdoor and duty-free stores.
Where to go For more Information...
© Aluminum tubes. At Montebello Packaging, contact Anna Sipowicz at 708.386.1773 or

3. Presenting a One-Two Punch In ’Sensory’ Marketing
Consumers want to connect with the products they buy. Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons responds to this desire for “sensory” marketing with four varieties of lightly sweetened AriZona Infused Water.
Two labels work together to communicate a message of “infused with fruit.” A shrink label encircling the sphere of the 20-ounce PET bottle provides the “canvas” for mouth-watering graphics. They denote the flavor of the water inside the bottle.
A more traditional label wraps around the top of the bottle’s base. Graphically, this label also signals the flavor variety while providing the required ingredient information.
The wraparound label leaves plenty of room in the lower portion of the base for a unique use of “branding panels.” These bear the AriZona name, which is embossed in the center of each panel.
The package gives the illusion of water passing through fruit, picking up flavor before being consumed.
Labeling tactics such as sensory appeal will grow in prominence as marketers look to set their brand apart in glutted product categories.
Where To Go For More Information...
© Shrink labels. At Multi-Color Corp., contact John Antonucci at 516.978.7619 or
© Wraparound labels. At Inland Printing, contact Mark Glendenning at 800.657.4413 or

4. Creating Interaction at the Point-of-Purchase
When marketers look to promotional packaging to draw attention in the busy cereal aisle, they face labeling challenges.
Kellogg’s tackled one of the toughest hurdles—precise placement of elements on the carton. A thermally activated, liquid crystal display disk and card fits exactly in a die-cut hole in the front panel on short-run promotional cartons of Scooby Doo! cereal.
By coordinating production among its suppliers, Kellogg’s ensured the precision required to enable the disk to show just right in the 3/4-inch-diameter, die-cut hole. Kellogg’s also maintained previous carton-filling speeds without increasing project costs.
Cards in the set feature different Scooby Doo! characters. The card becomes an interactive label, “daring” kids to touch it on the store shelf.
The crystal disk works on the same principle as a “mood ring.” When touch activated, it changes color according to a “scare meter.”
Where to go for More Information...
© Promotional labels. At Smyth Companies, contact Bill Orme at 651.643.2235 or

5. Highlighting the ’Leather Look’
Wine labels are evolving into miniature yet highly functional works of art.
As Coia Vineyards rolls out Convivium and Lapideum, its first two commercial wines, it is pushing that standard.
Typically, Bordeaux-style labels feature gold or black lettering on a white or beige background. Coia opted for a deep maroon background, textured to resemble fine leather.
Label Graphics Manufacturing achieves the texture by embossing the label surface with a repeating pattern of subtle, grain-like grooves. This pattern extends to the bouquet in the label, and it also provides a slip-resistant grip.
Lawrence Coia, owner of the vineyards, opted for an oval, stained-glass image of grapes to reflect the glass-making heritage of the vineland region of New Jersey.
Coia’s label pulls off a sophisticated look while including necessary textual information about the brand—without a rear label. The brand name is foil-stamped in satin gold and the year in satin silver.
Where to go for More Information...
© Textured labels. At Label Graphics, contact Tom Silvano at 973.890.5665 or visit