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Full-body balm to help heal a hurt

It's with an eye to history and the future that F.C. Sturtevant Co., Bronxville, NY, is introducing the first

full-body shrink label for containers of its leading product, Columbia® Antiseptic Powder. History, because the label, designed for its oblong, sifter-topped polyethylene bottle, commemorates Sturtevant's 125th anniversary. The future, because Sturtevant president Steven I. Rosenfeld believes a full-body shrink label or some comparable technique "may revolutionize the way healthcare products will be sold in the future."

While this new look for the Columbia brand may also improve its shelf presence and instinctively draw a positive consumer response–and certainly the milestone is worth a container celebration–its origins are elsewhere. They developed shortly after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC, on Sept. 11, '01. Rosenfeld recalls to PD, "Our biggest customer, the Walgreen Co., asked us to develop a tamper-resistant package. Even before the attacks, we had been considering a special anniversary bottle for the Columbia powder. What we have is a solution that satisfies everyone."

Preview package
He knows the label fits everyone's needs because he had the label converter, Seal-It, put together a comprehensive based on a design by the Harquin Group, Sturtevant's ad agency, which used elements reviving some of Columbia's historical graphics, to digitally photograph and show to customers and brokers through the Internet. Other customers viewed the comp itself during meetings with representatives of the marketer. "The response," Rosenfeld recalls, "was absolutely incredible. Suddenly, every customer wanted to be the first to have it on their shelves. In fact, brokers who were formerly associated with the number-one brand in the category are now switching over."

They could all be first. Shipments of the 6-oz size are slated to start this month. Soon after, possibly in late October or early November, a 14-oz size will arrive, similarly attired.

One charm of the road Sturtevant is traveling is that the oblong HDPE bottles remain unchanged. The 6-oz size is a stock extrusion/blow-molded bottle with an injection-molded polypropylene sifter top, both supplied by O. Berk. Made to the same specs is the earlier-inventoried 14-oz size.

Another is that the transition is flowing smoothly. Because of close cooperation among Harquin, consultant Larry Stein, Seal-It's people and Solutions in Packaging (SiP), representing contract packager Process Technologies, completion of the program is, at presstime, just around the corner.

Seal-It is producing the labels, supplied as sleeves, from a 2-mil maximum-strength vinyl film, which it prints in four process and four special colors on a modified eight-color flexo press. Specifications also call for a vertical perforation just under the closure to permit opening of the sifter.

At the copacker, the need for perfect registration of the label translates into manual application before conveying through a shrink tunnel, an SiP spokesperson tells PD.

Significant step
Steve Rosenfeld anticipates arrival of the first production packages, with final artwork delayed a bit, he says. "We had to revise some rear-panel NDC copy on the bar code in accordance with FDA's 2002 requirements. But that's done now, and the new package promises to be everything we expected it would be.

"The result of our effort has taken a relative bit player in the pharmaceutical industry and created a package that may revolutionize the way healthcare products will be sold in the future," he adds.

More information is available:

Label: Seal-It, 800/325-3965. Circle No. 208.

Design: Harquin Group, 914/738-9620. Circle No. 209.

Bottle/closure: O. Berk, 908/851-9500. Circle No. 210.

Consultant: Larry Stein, 914/234-4780. Circle No. 211.

Contract packaging representative: Solutions in Packaging, 888/463-9298. Circle No. 212.

Contract packaging: Process Technologies, 570/654-5713. Circle No. 213.

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