Algorithm-designed Nutella jars cause marketing buzz and buying frenzy
- Food manufacturer Ferrero released a limited-edition collection of Nutella jars in its home country of Italy earlier this year. Using an algorithm, the company created 7 million different packaging designs, which consumers immediately snapped up, reported Adweek and Inc.
- Packaging on the collectible jars included a variety of eye-catching colors, shapes and patterns, including zig-zags, polka dots and splotches. All items sold out within a month. Following the initial success in Italy, Nutella plans to launch the same campaign in other European countries.
- The intention of the “Nutella Unica” (Italian for "Unique Nutella") initiative, part of a marketing campaign developed by creative partner Olgivy & Mather, was “to make each hazelnut spread jar as unique and expressive as the Italian people,” the company explained in a video. Nutella also launched a TV commercial and digital activation that lets fans create a customized video to celebrate someone unique.
It’s always good to create marketing buzz. It’s even better to develop a successful marketing campaign. And that’s just what Ferrero accomplished with its "Unique" campaign of algorithm-designed Nutella jars. It seems like Ferrero hit the proverbial jackpot with this initiative since retailers reportedly had a hard time keeping the whimsical jars in stock.
This isn’t the first time a packaged goods company has released uniquely labeled products or used an algorithm to create “fun” packaging art. Coca-Cola's “Share a Coke Name” campaign, which re-launched in the US earlier this year, has been a wildly popular campaign. It also has created bottle labels that turn into festival wristbands, a clever initiative that resonates with millennials. The wristbands also offer consumers the chance to win access to music festivals.
“We know how much people love finding their names on Coca-Cola bottles, so this year we brought back names and added more names than ever,” Even Holod, brand director for Coca-Cola North America, said in a press release. Coke also lets customers create their own customized bottles online.
More in line with the Nutella project, the beverage manufacturer previously launched an algorithm-based packaging effort for Diet Coke in Israel. A number of years ago, France-based alcohol maker Pernod Ricard applied an algorithm as well to create unique designs for its Absolut brand.
These are just the kinds of packaging innovations that are relatively inexpensive to deploy and a low-risk way to create buzz around a brand — as well as lure new customers. More brand marketers should consider innovative and collectible packaging as a way to make somewhat lackluster products feel new again. It could be just the reason we continue seeing General Mills add the latest and greatest athletes to its collectible Wheaties cereal boxes.
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