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How to Create Packaging That Kills Knockoff Products

Article-How to Create Packaging That Kills Knockoff Products

Are you facing tough competition from generics and other knockoffs in your market? With house brands becoming increasingly common in all product segments, it’s getting harder and harder to convince consumers that original, category building products are worth the premium price they typically carry.

So why not use your packaging to change the game and out step all the knockoffs? That’s exactly what Elmer’s glue did.

For some 60 years, Elmer's Glue has truly been an iconic brand that transcends generations and demographics. The sticky white stuff from Elmer's Products, Inc., Columbus, OH, has faced competitors' glues on retail shelves that were throughout the years packaged in the same colors and in similar transparent squeeze bottles with similarly colored labels.

Not surprisingly, Elmer's sales eventually went flat from such competition. A change was needed.

To boost the appearance of Elmer's Wood Glue, Stainable, WaterProof Wood Glue, Carpenters' Glue and more, Elmer's contacted TricorBraun ( for help with redesigning the packaging.

Explains David Snyder, a TricorBraun design director, the new strategy for changing the packaging was to retain some of the traditional elements and the look of the package, while adding some pizzaz: “Tradition has its place, but Elmer's needed a facelift and a new brand identity for its packaging,” Snyder says. “We decided that [creating an exciting bottle] shape and color were the way to help punch up the brand on the shelf.”

Because many of Elmer's competitors package their glues in natural polyethylene containers, Elmer's wanted to overcome the color sameness and give the new design more zing by using the deep Elmer's blue as the base color for a full-bottle shrink-label. A glowing bright orange teams with the deep blue color scheme to make the bottles easier to find in stores and especially make them easy to remember.

Considering the shape of the assorted squeeze bottle sizes, Elmer's and TricorBraun chose a high-density polyethylene bottle with an offset neck, the latter of which changes the brand's appearance and enhances glue application. The bottle's shoulder or “top deck” now has a slanted face panel that's striking in appearance. The top of each sleeve, decorated in the bold orange, matches the bottles' dispensing closure tips. “When the new bottles are collectively aligned with other Elmer's bottles, they create their own POP display,” Snyder adds.

With some savvy packaging moves, Elmers was able to keep ahead of their competition and make it harder for them to duplicate. And that’s packaging power!

Matrix Packaging ( makes the bottles and applies the shrink sleeves. 
Fort Dearborn Co. ( makes the bold, glossy sleeve labels.

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