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Bottle Decoration – The Art of Engagement


There was a time in the early to mid-nineties, when premium drinks companies saw potential in bottle decoration as a means of increasing shelf stand-out. As a result bottle manufacturers began to experiment with exciting effects, such as metallic sprays and thermal chromatic paints and other complex techniques. Back then much of the evolving decoration innovation from a production perspective was ahead of its time, expensive and not yet commercially viable, although some spirits brands – vodka in the main – embraced decoration to good effect as a means of creating a niche in the premium spirits market.

Since then we’ve seen decoration being used extensively with many new and exciting innovative techniques evolving en route. Typically, amongst the good there is also the bad examples of decoration, including many instances of blatant plagiarism of some of the spirits brands. Nonetheless decoration is here to stay and, with the onset of craft distilling, is likely to grow exponentially as new and seasoned brand owners compete for prominence in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

Like others in our industry, providing our customers with decoration is a component of overall offering, being a key part of our ‘customer journey’. In its provision, we find ourselves cultivating a consultative approach to our customers, who often see decoration as a ‘must have’ without necessarily fully appreciating a) the effects of decoration on the brand itself, b) the production implications of the embellishment(s), or c) the commercial viability of what they are after. Unfortunately there are frequent occasions where brands have used expensive decoration techniques to compensate for a second-rate product. Quite rightly this damages consumer confidence who feel ‘ripped-off’ having been swayed by decoration into purchasing a seemingly premium product whose experience isn’t up to the mark.

we are in the business of using our in-depth expertise and knowledge of decoration to create great looking packaging, at a price-point which is commercially sound. The collaboration and added-value we provide our customers not only affords us new opportunities, but also an excellent customer retention track record.

Looking to the future of decoration, I firmly believe that less is more and that keeping it simple (even if the technical process is not so) will benefit brands. Even at a premium level, decoration should be used to communicate a lot more than just being a nice bottle to look at – connecting with the consumer being the motive as opposed to decoration for decorations sake. It can make a product, encouraging brand loyalty or, if done badly, get lost in the melee of ‘me-too’ ‘also ran’ brands. My plea, let’s do this right.