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A Day in the Life event inspired by packaging innovation and The Beatles’ album

A Day in the Life event inspired by packaging innovation and The Beatles’ album

The Fab Four’s landmark “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album is rechanneled toward packaging with PAC Packaging Consortium’s outside-the-box “A Day in the Life” Symposium taking place September 30 through October 2 in Toronto, Canada.

We asked James D. Downham, president & CEO, PAC Packaging Consortium, what the event is about and what is unique. “It is about A Day In the Life of a packaged product – an imaginary nutritional beverage,” he responds. “Equipped with remotes, our interactive audience will be engaged and answering questions throughout the three days – thus providing real-time discussion topics and an industry survey.

 “What makes this event unique are the theme, content, innovation, collaboration, audience engagement, venues and the fact there will be lots of fun. Pricing is lower than most competitive conferences in the packaging space. In other words, an amazing value for money spent.

“All of PAC activities are motivated by educating and informing our members and the broader packaging community.”

Here’s what’s in store for attendees, according to Downham:

Day 1 – Sep. 30 – Start of Life – the keynote panel will chat about the macro strategic retail trends and the supply chain implications. It will then lead to a workshop to demonstrate lifecycle thinking and sustainable design. The takeaway from that session is that six individual packages will be identified as potential packages for the imaginary drink. It will conclude with a networking event at the Steam Whistle Brewery and a tour of Ripley’s Aquarium.

Day 2 – Oct. 1 – Innovation Day - Continuing Throughout Life – Opening keynote address from Steam Whistle executive, luncheon speakers from Canada’s largest Design/Branding Agency (major player at Kraft US).  The AM will feature 12 individual presentations from Innovators (following the Shark Tank and Dragons Den TV concept). The audience will vote real time and pick 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place winners. The PM session will feature six presentations on the attributes of six individual packages. This will be followed by six graphic design and branding presentations from local university and colleges student. The audience will again pick 1st 2nd and 3rd place finishers. That evening will be a fun-filled networking event likely featuring an NHL hockey game.

Day 3 – Oct. 2 – Waste, What Waste? Day - Into the Next Life – Tom Szaky is our keynote speaker. It is also the PAC NEXT ½ day featuring updates on significant activities in NA around the end-of-life of packaging. It will also feature innovative next life packaging solutions. We will adjourn at noon.

Downham expects that the upcoming A Day in The Life will draw 200 to 400 member attendees.

“Our 380 corporate North American membership base and 2,000-plus associate members come from all touch points in the supply chain including: retail, consumer packaged goods, package makers, raw material providers, graphic and structural design, waste management, reprocessors and government,” he explains. “All functions and levels from CEO owner/operator to all management levels will be in attendance.”

Downham says the event concept has been done on a smaller scale before, at the group’s venues that have taken place at PMMI’s Pack Expo and UBM’s PackEx tradeshows.

“Each had an Innovation Day with 15 minute presentations (speed-dating style) and attendees selecting winners,” he points out.

He notes that PAC has been managing and producing events, conferences, symposiums and related events for more than 60 years. “Today our members want something different. Traditional conferences with a specific hotel go-to destination and rubber chicken meals are no longer acceptable. Today’s attendees want brilliant content, variety, multimedia and real-time engagement and excitement, not just another town, another conference. And during breaks they want great networking opportunities.”

Isn’t this atypical concept a bit of a risk?

“Yes, there is always a risk with such a concept,” he acknowledges. “But everyone I have spoken to (23 speakers invited and accepted to date) find the venue innovatively refreshing and want to participate. Story Telling is a leadership style I personally adopted many years ago.”  

The PAC Symposium website is

For more on PAC and its activities, see PAC Food Waste status and insights published in April.

About PAC

PAC, the Packaging Association of Canada was founded in 1950. In 2010, to accommodate the needs of our members, the name changed to PAC, the Packaging Association. On April 15, 2014, in our 65th year, the evolution continues to PAC, the Packaging Consortium which appropriately reflects our broader reach.

The website is

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