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Flex pack samplers spur new sales

With side and bottom seals of the pouches made, three piston pumps move minute doses of fragrance through filling heads. An end seal includes an easy-open score.

Sampling's soaring. In an economy where consumers hesitate to invest in unknown new products, marketers increasingly turn to miniature giveaway packages that help buyers make up their own minds about purchasing trade sizes.

The strategy is succeeding. Especially for brand identities with ready recognition in the marketplace. PD made this discovery during a recent visit with Flexpaq at its South Plainfield, NJ, plant, a large operation dedicated to small packages.

There, at a conference room table arrayed with dozens of unit sampler pouches, the impact of a tiny structure versus that of TV and other advertising emerges forcefully. Probably no better example of a sampler's potential, Chance® from Chanel, also symbolizes not only the reach of structural innovation, but also the global grasp of packaging. It's a circular pouch that is selling a premium fragrance series.

Major departure
Chanel's Chance is a new four-product collection the New York City-headquartered marketer aims at younger women; ergo the packaging's use of a modest pink in a major graphic departure from its historic black and white. A Chanel marketing spokesperson tells PD that the round pouch contributed to the line's introduction in August, '02–and is still used.

With side and bottom seals of the pouches made, three piston pumps move minute doses of fragrance through filling heads. An end seal includes an easy-open score.

The pouches are made from a single web by Flexpaq, a part of Ileos Group. It's converted at a plant of Amcor Flexibles Europe. The pouch is an adhesive lamination of (from the outside) polyester/ aluminum/polyester/linear low-density polyethylene, and contains what Chanel calls Chance body moisture.

In an enclosed area–one of nine packaging rooms in the facility–Flexpaq produces the pouches in its dual role of package maker and contract packager. And, the company accomplishes this dual production feat with a verve that validates the adage about teaching old dogs new tricks.

The 31/2-in.-dia pouches come into being on a form/fill/seal machine built in the early '80s by Klöckner. Upgraded with three new finely tuned piston pumps, the machine first forms bottom and side heat seals in the web. It then fills and seals with an easy-opening score.

Under tight control, the web then progresses out of the machine to a die-cutter. Following cutting, the individual pouches feed onto a powered conveyor for manual cartoning and casing.

Huge flow
Though information on the exact quantity of Chanel pouch shipments is proprietary, the fact that it and another Flexpaq-made sampler remain in use following the introductory period speaks volumes.

"For all of our customers," PD learns from Flexpaq sales vp Jim F. Gabilanes, "there is a huge flow of the miniatures through our operation because they appreciate the job these packages do.

"They spark first-time trials for both new and established products at point of sale. Immediate satisfaction translates into immediate purchases. "No other medium can do this at a comparable cost per sale," he continues. "They're clean, they're competitive, and they communicate quality. And, they reach the consumer for whom the products are marketed."

More information is available:

Pouch/contract packaging: Flexpaq, 908/753-7300. Circle No. 271.

Film: Amcor Flexibles Europe, 44 1452 634100. Circle No. 272.

F/f/s machine: Klöckner Medipak, 727/538-4644. Circle No. 273.



Shiseido gets an eyeful
A sample package that gives the consumer an appealing presentation while solving a problem is leaving its marketer "definitely satisfied."
That's the estimation of Sandip Shah, director of packaging development and engineering for Shiseido. Working at the South Windsor, NJ, operation of the Tokyo-based cosmetics and toiletries marketer, Shah cites the pouch produced to distribute 2-mL samples of Shiseido's newest mascara, Distinguish Mascara®, marketed under Shiseido The Makeup® brand.

Complete with applicator wand, the primary container is made and assembled here to virtually duplicate the 8-g trade size. "We introduce a new mascara every six months, but because of special requirements, we needed to have the pouch made in the United States for use in the second-half of 2002," Shah informs PD.

Handling the pouch structure and filling, Flexpaq comes up with a barrier structure that provides graphic appeal with use-life. Converted in France by Avenir Print Service, the package is an adhesive lamination of (from the outside) polyester/aluminum/linear low-density polyethylene.

At Flexpaq, the pouch is produced on a Doboy flowrapper from SIG Doboy. The machine forms, heat-seals and crimps the two ends and the rear gusset. It isn't functioning during PD's stay, but is being prepared for the next job, another Shiseido sampler.

Shah says Shiseido distributes substantial numbers of the samplers throughout North America and parts of Asia. "In the most recent period, there were close to 600,000 pieces shipped globally," he notes, "and weight loss was not an issue, as the pouches hold the properties of the product extremely well."

More information is available:

Film: Avenir Print Service, 33 02 41 40 24 14. Circle No. 274.

Flowrapper: SIG Doboy, 715/246-6511. Circle No. 275.
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