After producing the same product packaging for 60 years, Elmer’s, the market leader in wood glue was looking for what they called a “facelift.” Elmer’s offers four different bottle styles for its Wood Glue, ranging from four to sixteen ounces. Altogether, there are 40 SKUs of wood glue in the hardware line. “Our existing product hadn’t been touched forever,” says Brian King, vice president of marketing for Elmer’s. “The design was old, it was unattractive and it didn’t have any visual impact at the point of purchase.”
Elmer’s offset neck bottles makes application easy for consumers, but posed challenges for label designers. Shrink distortions varied considerably, with 16-ounce bottles requiring up to 70 percent shrinkage. “The larger the container, the more challenging, since there’s so much more film to shrink over the bottle,” explained Troy Reed, manager of core products for Fort Dearborn, a supplier of decorative labels for consumer product companies. Reed identified the glue market as ripe for change and Elmer’s as the most likely change agent. “In the glue market, basically everybody copies Elmer’s,” says Reed. “So this was a way for Elmer’s to differentiate itself and keep the Elmer’s name out there as top-of-the-line industry leader.”
Using high-shrink Pentalabel® film made from Eastman Embrace™ copolyesters by Klöckner Pentaplast, Elmer’s bottles are now completely wrapped from the neck to the base. “The promise of what shrink sleeves can do and, then, applying it to a uniquely shaped bottle was interesting,” says King. “We questioned whether the design was even possible. But Fort Dearborn knows the technology and helped us get the results we wanted.” In addition to producing the shrink-shrink labels, Fort Dearborn arranged for an interim packager, Verst Group, to hand apply the labels while Elmer’s regular contract packager, Matrix Packaging, retooled its machinery to automate the process.
“A tiny nip here, a minor tuck there,” a quote in a company brochure describing the new look for Elmer the Bull and the line of wood glue products he represents. “We’ve got more space to communicate information consistently across the product line,” King says. “We can now communicate the important benefits of the different types of wood glue – Carpenter’s, WaterProof, ProBond, Stainable and Ultimate. It’s easier to shop because the graphics are easier to read and identify the differences between the products. When you get home, the new bottle design is easier to hold and use.”