It may have started small but the packaging for new Abreva has grown to mighty marketing levels.
Abreva is the first and only nonprescription cold sore medicine recognized by the Food and Drug Administration to shorten the duration of symptoms and quicken the healing time. Even the name Abreva conveys how the product will "abbreviate" the life of a cold sore.
Packaging elements that work together so well for Abreva include an unusual shape on the carton's fifth panel, a "circle of dots" mnemonic device, a soothing blue color scheme, a portable tube and a display merchandiser.
Right on the dot
January marked the national distribution of this new over-the-counter product. Through a licensing agreement with product developer Avanir Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Consumer Health Care is responsible for all manufacturing, sales, marketing and distribution activities in the U.S. and Canada.
Key to Abreva's marketing message is the circle of dots that appear with its logo. The dots diminish in size and intensity to signify the medicine's healing action and demonstrate how it helps cold sores dissipate. These disappearing dots become a mnemonic device for consumers to link the imagery seen in advertising with the package on the shelf.
Conceived and designed by Wallace Church Associates, the carton has an unusual shape and set up. First, the rounded top of the fifth panel reinforces the circle of dots concept.
Second, the carton that holds the 2-inch aluminum tube is not as wide as the fifth panel.
Debbie Weis, senior brand equity manager from GSK, explains why the carton and fifth panel are different widths: "Since we were working with the Drug Facts regulations, we always kept in mind that our package must have adequate space to list all of the information [on the back]. Therefore, this did help to drive the dimensions of our package. And the carton that contains the tube was also designed specifically to fit the size of the tube."
The tube holds 2 grams of product, enough to treat approximately two to three cold sores--the average number of cold sores a person will suffer with each year, according to GSK. Because it's so small, the tube is easily portable so treatment can begin at the first sign of a cold sore.
Presence, price, production
To maximize shelf impact, the cartons are printed by Mebane Packaging in five colors on 16-point Westvaco Printkote solid bleached sulfate board, chosen for its high-quality print reproduction. Waterbase and ultraviolet coatings add sheen and eye appeal.
Mebane Packaging not only prints, die cuts and glues the cartons, but also applies electronic article surveillance (EAS) tags as requested by GSK. Because of the product's small size and high price point (I paid $12.99 in Illinois with my Jewel-Osco Preferred Customer Card), EAS tags from either--or both!--Checkpoint Systems and Sensormatic are added to the carton's interior.
Cartons are shipped flat to GSK for high-speed automatic set up and loading, an important point for GSK considering the carton's unusual design. Since the carton is glued on both ends, no other tamper-evident feature is required. Tubes are filled and supplied to GSK by an outside company. GSK respectfully declined to answer questions about packaging line specifics.
Another marketing component for Abreva is a hanging retail display. Made of clear polyvinyl chloride by AGI Klearfold, it's printed on the front of the back panel to match the Abreva package graphics. It has a pocket in front for a supply of informative brochures and holds up to five packages (stacked, one across) which drop in easily at the top and slide down. Consumers can remove one carton at a time by sliding it out to the right at the bottom.
Tall and narrow, the refillable merchandiser fits easily on retail shelves and, being made of PVC, withstands the rigors of handling a bit better than a paperboard display, according to the manufacturer. Shipped flat to retailers, it sets up and is ready to load in seconds.
AGI Klearfold, A Westvaco Packaging Resource (919) 304-0455
Checkpoint Systems (800) 257-5540 www.checkpointsystems.com
Mebane Packaging, A Westvaco Packaging Resource (919) 304-0455 www.mebane.com
Sensormatic (561) 989-7000 www.sensormatic.com
Wallace Church Associates (212) 755-2903 www.wallacechurch.com
Westvaco (203) 461-7658 www.westvaco.com
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