A Cure for the Common Marketing Technique

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company is a known leader in headache relief, but as the company recently prepared to introduce a “melt-in-your-mouth” formulation of its popular Excedrin headache medication, it was in need of a cure for the common marketing technique.

Facing an increasingly crowded category for pain relievers, Bristol-Myers Squibb wanted a unique and exciting promotional kit to introduce Excedrin Brand QuickTabs to the 5,600 Over-the-Counter and Pharmacy managers at Wal-Mart, one of the company’s largest and most important distribution channels. To help capture their attention, the company envisioned a fun, oversized version of the 16- and 32-count Excedrin QuickTabs cartons.

Part educational tool and part gift, the larger carton would be used to hold product literature, as well as pens, highlighters, and other items that could be used every day. It would also incorporate in-store promotional items, such as balloons, lapel buttons for Wal-Mart associates, shelf talkers, and stand-out aisle advertisements, that would help attract shoppers to the product on the shelf.

Creating such a package, however, was not without its challenges. The carton needed to be durable enough to hold its contents securely and survive shipping, while displaying the aesthetic appeal necessary to attract the attention of Wal-Mart managers and get them excited about the new product. It also needed to reinforce the quality brand image for which Bristol-Myers Squibb products are known.

New Medicine . . . New Creature
Because the company was specifically targeting Wal-Mart with its Excedrin QuickTabs promotion, Bristol-Myers Squibb decided to tap the expertise of New Creature, a marketing and design firm based in Rogers, AK, near Wal-Mart’s headquarters. New Creature specializes in point-of-purchase displays and promotional marketing, and most of its customers, such as Kraft, Cardinal Brands, Coca-Cola, and Ocean Spray, are suppliers to Wal-Mart.

“When Bristol-Myers Squibb approached us with its idea, it was obvious they needed a box with both strength and visual appeal, one that would hold a variety of supplies and still look nice by the time it got to the recipients,” explains Amber Savage, product manager at New Creature. “We knew what we wanted the box to look like, but we needed help finding the right substrate to use.”

New Creature turned to long-time supplier Panel Prints for insight. Based in Old Forge, Pa., the commercial printer is an experienced provider high-impact color reproduction for packaging, displays, posters, greeting cards and publications. “When we began speaking with Panel Prints, we knew we wanted a board we could print on,” Savage says. “We deal with corrugated often, but that wasn’t an option for this situation, because we wanted a clean, smooth look without wavy flute lines.”

After listening to the job requirements, Joe Torquato, Panel Prints’ manager of technical services, suggested Forte, a solid-fiber board from MeadWestvaco’s Packaging Resources Group (PRG). Forte combines a bright-white coated facing stock with a kraft board to deliver sturdy packaging with brilliant graphic reproduction.

A few factors contributed to Torquato’s recommendation. “Forte delivers superior graphics without washboarding, which is perfect for giving the Excedrin QuickTabs promo carton the high-quality look and feel that Bristol-Meyers wanted,” he says. “Plus, we can print directly on the facing sheet, which saves time and money by eliminating the need to laminate an offset-printed lightweight bleached board to single-faced corrugated.

“Last of all,” Torquato says, “we knew it would print well, because MeadWestvaco products have a reputation for smooth, consistent printing surfaces.”

After receiving the Excedrin QuickTabs artwork on a disc, Panel Prints makes printing plates using Creo Trendsetter computer-to-plate system. The job is run in four colors on a 44" x 64" five-color Planeta press, which is capable of handling the 36 pt. board. The box is die cut using a 45" x 65" Bobst die cutter before being folded and glued using a 52" x 54" International Folder Gluer.

Panel Prints packages the flat cartons in corrugated cases and sends them to New Creature, where they are filled with promotional items and packed in corrugated shippers. The cases are then sent to Dallas for distribution by CROSSMARK, a company that provides integrated sales, marketing and merchandising solutions for manufacturers selling in the supermarket, convenience, mass/club, chain drug, specialty and discount trade channels.

Quick Relief for Packaging Needs
Producing the Excedrin QuickTabs promotional carton on Forte was not a headache at all. The paper lived up to everyone’s expectations, and the final product did not disappoint.

“It’s a beautiful box that got a lot of attention, so I think it did its job,” says Savage. “Bristol-Myers Squibb was very pleased with the results.”

New Creature cites the process efficiencies possible with Forte as key, since many of Wal-Mart’s suppliers work on tight budgets.

“Forte is a cost-effective way to create high-impact packaging that is both durable as well as visually appealing,” says Tony Rozmes, segment manager, packaging, for MeadWestvaco’s Packaging Resources Group. “Its construction eliminates the need for users to choose strength or attractiveness—Forte offers both.”

To receive additional information on Forte, please contact Tony Rozmes, segment manager, packaging, at 843/745 3051 or send an e-mail to forte@meadwestvaco.com. Information is also available at fortepaper.com.


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