Monthly Archives: April 2010

  • Facebook Promotes New "Text to Like" Campaign with Window Decals

    Facebook Text to Like Decal The widely used social media networking site Facebook is using adhesive window decals to promote its new "text to like" campaign.

    Social media news blog Mashable confirmed yesterday that select local businesses have already started receiving the stickers in their mailboxes. Each window sticker features a large "like" icon, the Facebook logo and icon, the online address of the business's Facebook page, and instructions for letting other Facebook users know that you "like" the business via text messaging.

    It turns out that the "text to like" feature is available not only to these targeted businesses that have received decals in the mail, but to anyone with a custom URL on Facebook. I tested this myself by sending a text to 32665, Facebook's mobile messaging number, with the words "like LightningLabels" and received a confirmation message almost immediately that it had worked.

    So if you have a Facebook page for your business with a custom URL, you don't have to wait and see if Facebook sends you a free window decal for your storefront in order to promote your business using this new feature. You can have your own custom window decals printed up with instructions on how your customers can show their support for you by sending a simple text message. And you might also want to consider having them made up not only for your own storefront, but for your customers as well. As my friend Jen put it, everyone likes to get a free toy in the mail. Her business received its "text to like" decal from Facebook yesterday. She was pretty excited about the surprise.

    Facebook is not the first Internet company to encourage local businesses to promote their online presence with window stickers. In December, the search engine giant Google sent more than 100,000 window decals to the most popular listings in its Local Business Center database that featured QR codes.  Companies stuck these postcard-sized sticker to their front windows. Anyone walking past one of these businesses could then scan their smart phones over the Google's QR  sticker to instantly pull up information on their mobile browser about the business such as reviews, photos, and coupons.

    Editor's Note: Facebook has strict terms regarding the terminology, logos and icons that may used to promote Facebook pages. It is recommended that you read these terms of use thoroughly before designing your own promotional label or sticker. Lightning Labels LLC is not responsible for anyone who violates these terms.

  • New Vodka Has a Programmable LED Label

    medea-vodka Earlier this month Medea Vodka released a new concept in product labels - a programmable LED label. Even though this venerable Dutch distiller has been around since the 18th century they are very much breaking new ground here in the 21st century. The LED label has six pre-programmed messages but you can also program your own message. It can have up to six scrolling 255 characters messages, enough for a (very) short story. But the drawback from my perspective is that it is quite a pain to program, particularly a long message. Here is a link to the video that describes the programming process. The messages scroll for three minutes before turning themselves off automatically. What would have been really cool is if they had some sort of wireless connectivity that would have allowed you to send a text message from your phone to the bottle. But I imagine the technology for that kind of thing is too complex right now, particularly with regards to the battery. I think the LED is really just a marketing tool. It is a little clunky but it does have a novelty factor that may spur some sales. But what it does most is generate some buzz around their vodka. Doing some quick Google searches shows a lot of articles on blogs and online news sites, and they are all over Twitter (this is where I discovered it - hat tip to @CnvCurmudgeon). They have a strong social media presence on Twitter and Facebook and they are leveraging the buzz this new "product label" has created. I looked for a bottle of Medea Vodka in my local liquor store and couldn't find one. They only have limited distribution here from what I gather. But I do salute them for this new label concept. I am sure it won't be the last time we see programmable LED product labels.

  • No One Cares About Digital Label Printing

    wine labels This may sound like blasphemy from a person who been preaching the gospel of digital label printing for more than eight years now. But the bottom line is the only people who really care about how labels are printed are the people printing the labels. Customers really don't care; they just want high quality and inexpensive labels. This point was driven home to me when I was going through our web site analytics yesterday. Of all the people who find us online, less than 0.5% of these people are searching for "digital label printing." That is such a tiny fraction of visitors that one could almost deem the term irrelevant to our customers and prospects. It has been my experience that most people who search for label printing services online are really not that interested in printing. They have a product they want to sell and they know they need to get a label. They want samples and pricing, so they can have some idea of the print quality and know if the costs are within their budget. Whether these labels are printed on a brand new HP-Indigo WS4500 digital label press, a Mark Andy flexographic press, or a Gallus offset press is completely irrelevant to the vast majority of customers. While I will continue to espouse the many benefits of digital label printing and the advantages it has over traditional printing, I also recognize that a large percentage of our customers and prospects simply will not care. Of course, we will continue to educate those people who are interested through our newsletters, social media outlets and this blog. Label printers need to realize we are not really in the printing business. We are simply solving the product identification and branding challenges of our customers. The printing part is just a means to an end.

  • New Colorado Native Lager Breaks New Ground

    Colorado Native LagerHere in Colorado most people (including myself) were born somewhere else and moved here as an adult. Those people lucky enough to be born in Colorado are called Colorado Natives. Now, a new beer from Coors is taking advantage of this idea. But that is not the real story here.

    In many ways Colorado Native Lager is breaking new ground. The product label uses a new technology, it is not being marketed in the traditional way, it is only being sold in Colorado , and it only uses Colorado suppliers in its manufacture. They claim that it is brewed from 99.8% Colorado grown ingredients.

    I was curious about all this so I went out this morning and bought myself a six-pack of this new beer. Obviously, what interested me most is the new technology on the label. The back label has something I have never seen before - it is a new kind of "code" called a SnapTag.

    I have written about QR codes many times before - they are the little black and white square boxes that usually take you to a web site when you scan them with your phone's camera. Well these little QR codes sometimes give graphic designers fits because they are not that visually appealing. Enter the SnapTag. It was developed by Colorado company, SpyderLynk, as a more attractive way of tracking consumer behavior.

    SnapTagAs you can see in the picture here a SnapTag is pretty simple. It contains your logo inside a broken circle. The consumer then takes a photo of the circle with their cell phone and sends the image to the phone number displayed in the tag. What happens next is up to the individual company. With Colorado Native Lager (once you have verified your age) you can then interact with the company through text messages.

    The breaks in the circle is the key to the code. You could have multiple different circles inside one production run to create different tests. SpyderLynk explains all the various uses of SnapTags on their web site.

    It is too early to tell yet whether or not SnapTags will catch on. But the people at Coors obviously believe in this technology enough to make it a cornerstone of their new beer. It uses a different approach than QR codes so it is possible that both technologies will end up being successful. One thing is for sure though. People will continue to interact with product labels more and both QR codes and SnapTags take advantage of this trend.

    One of the other curious things about Colorado Native Lager is that it is only being marketed through social media channels such as Facebook. No TV or magazine ads for this beer. That in itself is fascinating to me, but that's a topic for a future blog post.

    It will be interesting to see how the story of Colorado Native Lager develops. I will be following with close interest. And tonight I will crack open one of these beers and see how it actually tastes.

    Related Articles

    Miller Lets New Craft Beer Speak for Itself - Advertsing Age

    Colorado brews up tradition and technology - The Package Unseen blog

    Colorado Native Lager - The Dieline

  • The New Packaging Trend That Will Become a Tidal Wave

    personalized product labels from Jones Soda At the recent DSCOOP conference in Dallas I attended a panel with some major consumer brand owners. There were executives from Proctor & Gamble, Frito-Lay, Texas Instruments and BIC. These are all multi-billion dollar consumer product companies that spend a huge amount of time thinking about product labels and packaging. Michael Ferrari is the global research and development manager for Proctor & Gamble and he made the following statement in response to a question about personalization: "product packaging personalization is a tidal wave that is coming." He went on to say that all consumer brands need to think about how they can introduce a personalization option into their packaging. This is an idea whose time has come. All the technology is in place right now to make this happen. There are a number of forward thinking companies who are already making personalization an option for their products. Here is a list of ten companies that are at the start of this tidal wave:

    1. Jones Soda - the granddaddy of personalized product packaging. The MyJones program has been available since 2002 where consumers can upload a photo and order their very own six-pack of soda.
    2. Heineken - this program is only available in Europe right now, but it allows you to choose from over 100 designs for your personalized six-pack of beer. You can add your own text and even add a photo to some designs.
    3. Pringles - you can create a can of Pringles with your choice of background, text, and you can also upload a photo.
    4. Heinz - a very simple program where consumers can customize the text on a Heinz ketchup label.
    5. Kleenex - the My Kleenex Tissue program allows you to add your own photo and text to an oval box 0f Kleenex.
    6. Sharpie - the My Sharpie program allows you to choose your Sharpie colors and customize with two lines of your own text.
    7. Pernod Ricard - this is a different program insofar as you don't order the actual product online. It is from wine and liquor producer Pernod Ricard, and the way this works is you customize their label with text and then they mail the actual labels to you free of charge. Currently, you can personalize Chivas Regal, Kahlua or The Glenlivet.
    8. M&Ms - here you are not actually customizing the packaging, but rather the actual product itself. You can do two lines of text or a simple photo.
    9. Personal Wine - order just one bottle of wine from a select number of different wineries. You can personalize the wine labels with your own photo or choose from one of the templates.
    10. Baker's Dog - upload a photo of your favorite pooch and order a bag of dog treats with the photo on the product label.

    If you click through all the above links you will notice that some of these web sites are very sophisticated and some are simple. But the fact is you don't need a large marketing budget to get started offering personalization to your customers. You can start with a simple site that just allows some text personalization and be up and running in a couple of days. There are several advantages to having a personalization option for your products. You can engage your best customers and have them become even more committed to your brand. Done well, this can lead to a viral marketing campaign that can give your company some great exposure. Also, you can charge a premium for a personalized product - it has a much higher perceived value than a non-personalized product. The younger generation of today have grown up with personalization. They are the reason this tidal wave is coming. You can give your company a head start by starting a personalization option for your product labels. Of course, here at Lightning Labels we will be happy to print your personalized labels and help you get started.

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Material Descriptions

Materials

BIOSTONE

One of our eco-friendly options that is actually made of stone—no trees are used. This material should not laminated.

CAST GLOSS

This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

CLASSIC CREST

Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CLEAR BOPP

This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

ESTATE #9

This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

KRAFT (RECYCLED)

This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

SATIN CLOTH

Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

SQUEEZABLE

A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

VELLUM (RECYCLED)

A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

WHITE BOPP

This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

CAST GLOSS

This is another material specially designed for the wine industry. It is paper-based with a high-gloss white finish. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CHROME (SILVER) BOPP

This material has the same water and oil-resistant properties as our White BOPP and Clear BOPP, but has the "mirror-like" look of shiny chrome.

CLASSIC CREST

Best suited for wine labels, this is a white paper stock with a dull matte finish. It is not suitable for lamination and is therefore not waterproof. Same adhesive and liner as Estate #9.

CLEAR BOPP

This is the clear version of the Polypropylene (BOPP) material. It has the same waterproof qualities as the White BOPP. It provides more of a "no label" look and is also suitable for window stickers (where reverse printing of the image allows the label to be applied to the inside of a glass window and be viewed from the outside).

ESTATE #9

This is a great option for wine labels, gourmet foods or applications where a textured finish is desired. Being a paper stock, it's not as water-resistant or durable as BOPP, but its light cream color and textured feel add a touch of the "unusual" to the right product. It features a special adhesive (removable in 100+ degree hot water) and a stronger liner particularly suited to machine application. Not suitable for lamination.

GOLD POLYESTER (METALIZED)

This material will make your labels shine! Suitable for most labeling applications, it has a strong adhesive backing and must be laminated. Choose glossy laminate to make your label designs pop, or matte for a unique, elegant look.

KRAFT (RECYCLED)

This is a recycled 100% post consumer waste material. It is a 55# paper material that is a wonderful option if an “earthy” appearance is desired. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water. It is not suitable for lamination; therefore, it is not water or oil resistant.

REMOVABLE WHITE BOPP

This material is the same as our standard BOPP, but has a special, "less aggressive" adhesive designed to allow the label to be removed or re-positioned after application. Depending on the surface it will be applied to, customer testing is strongly recommended. We can provide samples for this purpose.

SATIN CLOTH

Quite the unique material! Yes, it is woven satin acetate cloth. Think wine or spirit labels! This material will make your product packaging POP. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

SQUEEZABLE

A white, 3mil film that is better suited for squeezable applications. This material has proven to work well in a variety of applications, so you can be confident it will perform well for you.

VELLUM (RECYCLED)

A great “green” choice, this 60# vellum is 100% recycled with 100% post consumer waste material. Cannot be laminated. Is neither water nor oil-resistant. The stronger liner is well suited for machine application. Depending upon face, substrate, water temperature and dwell time, label may be removed in hot water.

WHITE BOPP

This is our most commonly used material and is suitable for most applications. It's a polypropylene material with a permanent adhesive. It is impervious to water and oils, and is particularly suitable for bath and body products, as well as food containers.

WHITE EARTHFIRST PLA

A more environmentally friendly alternative to White BOPP. The PLA stands for Polylactic Acid (a biopolymer made from corn rather than petrochemicals). Similar look and feel to BOPP and suitable for most applications, but should not be used directly on candle containers.

WHITE FLEXIBLE VINYL

This is our most substantial material. The vinyl is thicker than BOPP, and is most suitable for outdoor applications where greater strength and durability are needed, or where lengthy exposure to the elements is an issue.

WINDOW DECAL (CLEAR/ULTRA-REMOVABLE)

We offer this window decal option as an alternative to static cling. The face stock is clear with excellent clarity. The adhesive is an ultra-removable featuring excellent weatherability and UV resistance. It removes cleanly from a wide variety of substrates without staining or ghosting. Why worry about static clings staying on when you can have removable adhesive there to hold it in place?

Artwork Specifications

Laminates

High Gloss

High gloss is our most popular laminate. It is the least expensive option and provides protection for the label and a high gloss shiny finish.

Matte

The Matte Laminate provides your label with a dull, non-glossy finish. Some customers consider this achieves a more "natural" look.

Thermal Transfer

This is a gloss laminate that is designed to work with most over-printing thermal transfer printers. We do recommend you get samples first to test through your own printer before placing an order with this laminate.

UV Outdoor Gloss

As the name implies this is best used for labels that will be used outdoors. It has a high gloss finish with excellent UV resistance. It is best paired with our vinyl material for the most durable outdoor label.