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Action moves a little higher

It's unique at the top, and thereby hangs a bottle. And a tale. Evian, ever seeking to secure a loftier place among premium bottled water marketers, is swinging into an innovative loop that bodes well for its ambitions. Evian Action natural mineral water, introduced in the U.K. last year, fills into a hefty 24-oz polyethylene terephthalate swirl bottle, injection/blow-molded at its water technology centre in Evian Cedex, France.

The bottle is further distinguished by a dark blue combination-of-materials closure that, with a closed loop, improves its portability and its sales impact, PD is informed by Evian packaging director Valery Fischer. He notes that the closure, its upper segment molded with a ring rising above jagged peaks to mimic the snowy glaciers depicted in Evian labeling, "is quite unique."

Developed and designed in conjunction with PA Consulting Group, the bottle is showing up in the U.S. in several markets, though designed for U.K. consumption, an Evian spokesperson admits. It will be replaced "probably by next June" by a modified version to be marketed under the Evian Nomad tradename, she says.

No details are available on the changes to be made, but it is believed the basic package structure will remain largely intact. One possible change, observed in a Nomad cap bottle supplied to PD, is the addition of a locking tab in the base of the closure.

Gripping drama
Suggesting cold refreshment, the PET bottle is molded with swirls curving upward dramatically, its pinch waist formed with finger grips. The swirls are practical as well as decorative, as they define the bottle's face and back label areas.

They also define the orientation of the package's closure and its two labels, Fischer acknowledges. "The orientation was initially a challenge, but once we solved the problems, the bottles are moving efficiently along the packaging line," he says.

The closure is the thing. The hinged component is produced by Astra Plastique, a subsidiary of Crown Cork & Seal, and consists of a threaded polyethylene base and polypropylene upper section, both injection-molded. When applied correctly, its ring faces forward. The ring also serves to keep the bottle oriented on the line.

Similarly, the body shrink label, a 60-micron PET film, is the same on both faces, bearing the familiar Evian logotype and the word "action" appended in a red capsule. The film is reverse-printed in three colors by Amcor Barcelona and Coliege Metal & Emballage by the process of heliography, a process of photoengraving from copper cylinders.

Equally critical is the placement of a pressure-sensitive spot label, offset-printed in one color by Avery Dennison France, that indicates by arrows the opening and reclosing directions of the closure. It's affixed prior to application of the shrink label. The final component, a foil-based seal applied to the closure's orifice, is a proprietary structure.

The orifice itself is reduced from the wider opening of the bottle, placing greater control of flow in the hands of the consumer. It is, in effect, a totally new take on the sports cap, since its design and engineering combine style and functionality in a fully integrated manner.

Best of all, consumers are starting to notice.

More information is available:

Design: PA Consulting Group, +44 1763 261222. Circle No. 216.

Closure: Astra Plastique, a sub. of Crown Cork & Seal, +33 474 09 6666. Circle No. 217.

Label: Amcor, 905/275-1592. Circle No. 218.

Label: Coliege Metal & Emballage, +33 534 50 2070. Circle No. 219.

Spot label: Avery Dennison, 800/944-8511. Circle No. 220.

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