Custom Packaging Reaches A New High With The Cannabis Industry

With the legalization of marijuana in many states in the U.S., the cannabis industry is becoming more and more mainstream across the country. This emerging market is seeing a huge explosion in sales of cannabis products. In 2017, the sales of cannabis products exceeded the liquor sales in the city of Aspen, Colorado. And those numbers will continue to rise throughout the next decade. According to Bloomberg, cannabis sales may surpass soda by 2030.

It’s hard to ignore the rise of the cannabis industry and it’s becoming even harder to stand out in a crowded marketplace. That’s why many companies are turning to custom packaging as a way to market their products.

Quill is one such company hoping to set themselves apart from their competitors. Quill’s flagship product is a vaporizer pen that is both sleek and discreet. With their packaging, the company has created a minimalistic box that suits the product.

 

Christopher Schiel of Quill says the company’s products aim to better people’s lives through cannabis. They develop brands and products that are safe, approachable, discreet, and consistent to normalize the plant and its active compounds.

“We think a lot about people who are new to cannabis or haven’t used in a long time,” Schiel says. “How can we make those folks comfortable enough to discover the benefits of cannabis for themselves with delivery devices that intuitively fit into their lifestyle? All of our packaging is developed with this mission in mind.”

Quill used Packlane to road test and refine some of their new designs for custom packaging because they were able to do small-runs on the fly. As Schiel explained, they’re moving forward on working on new case size options and limited edition mailer boxes for future products.

Quill’s current custom boxes are 5-pack wholesale cases for their flagship vaporizer pen. They deliver these boxes to stores with a closure sticker that indicates the strain of the pens inside. “Stores love our wholesale boxes because they’re instantly recognizable and elegantly branded from all angles,” Schiel says. “There’s no mistaking a Quill package amidst a sea of cannabis products, and they’re super easy to manage in every kind of stockroom situation especially considering the quirky specifics of Oregon regulations as live product typically needs to be transferred to a safe on a nightly basis. We’re also super proud that all of our Quill packaging is paper-based and recyclable.”

Stashbox brings the subscription model to cannabis enthusiasts. They design unique themes every month with a high importance on design. Their 420 Adventure Kit is a particular favorite. Using bright colors and custom illustrations, the box speaks to cannabis enthusiasts looking for an adventure.

Oregon’s Baba G has produced a DIY candy kit for the recreational cannabis market that is designed to be paired with cannabis concentrate. Customers add their favorite concentrate to the kit to create their own custom-potency edibles.

Joshua Markus, co-founder of Baba G, explained that they hoped their DIY sour candy kit would allow customers to take the guesswork out of making their own edibles at home. The kit provides an easy-to-follow recipe that makes the candy both delicious and just the right potency for the customer’s preference.

The company is very aware of the role their custom packaging has had on the business. “Since this is a unique product in the industry we knew we had to get creative with product information and packaging design,” Markus says. “We had specific box-size needs and a vision for what we wanted and got very excited when we discovered Packlane’s many options for customization.”

“We wanted to create something that would be eye-catching and instantly labeled as well-designed,” he adds. “Our designer, Kate Troedsson, understood that a quality product demands quality packaging. She created an amazing packaging experience for the customer and absolutely fulfilled beyond our expectations. When we settled on a final draft, Packlane did a wonderful job in translating her design to the physical box.”

As the marketplace grows for cannabis products, the need for high-end and premium custom packaging becomes a necessity. And while marijuana is commonly aligned with the industry, packaging needs to beyond simply slapping a pot leaf or joint on a box. Now, more than ever, it’s critical to catch the consumer’s eye as the cannabis landscape continues to evolve. The potential for packaging within the cannabis industry is infinite and will truly make the key players really stand out.


This editorial series brought to you by Packlane

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Making a 32ft wide mural for SPUR

We keep finding ourselves here. Last time I published an article I spoke about how I went about creating a 3D cut map for Matson’s office in Oakland with Stamen. In this post I’ll outline what it took to make a 32′x10′ high res satellite image (that’s 13,824,000 pixels) for SPUR’s office in SOMA.

SPUR is a Planning and Urban Research Association based out of San Francisco with offices in Oakland and San Jose. They asked Stamen to create a satellite image of the Bay Area to highlight the breadth of their operation.

Setting the boundaries and aspect ratio

We knew two things early on. One, we wanted to show the entire Bay Area; from Marin to San Jose and San Francisco to Vallejo. And two, we wanted to fill the space the piece was going, a roughly 14’x40′ wall. If you’re familiar with the Bay you will know the area of interest runs vertically whereas our wall was a very wide, horizontal area. We decided to rotate the image counterclockwise to compensate for this.

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Sourcing the satellite imagery

Typically images of this size (like billboards) are viewed from a distance so the resolution of the image isn’t a priority. However, since our map was going to be displayed in a room where it could be seen both up close and from a distance we wanted to use the best, highest resolution imagery we could get our hands on. So we reached out to our friends at DigitalGlobe.

Satellite imagery is made up of many small images tilled together to create one large seamless image. DigitalGlobe sent us these tiles for the entire Bay Area. They looked like this:

The area of one tile. We had to stitch over 100 of these together.

The resolution was excellent. I actually had to reduce the size of the imagery. Here is the full-res area over Stamen in the Mission District.

That’s Stamen, on the south east corner in the middle.

Stitching the tiles

After we received all the tiles from DigitalGlobe it was time to stitch them together. Alan, Stamen’s lead cartographer, created this map for me. It shows the location and number of each tile in relation to the area we wanted to show. I used this as a guide for knowing where each tiles goes as well as what tiles to not use.

Tiles in relation to the area of interest

Preparing the files and installing the map

Finally, I needed to prep the files for the printer, Dynamite Digital. We decided to print the map on a adhesive vinyl that would be applied to a substrate attached to the wall via french cleats. To help make the process easier we divided the image into 8 equally sized images and applied them to 8 identical substrates.

David, the installer, applying the first section.

We were really thrilled with the piece. It’s hard to capture just how BIG the map is and the amount of endless detail you can find in the images. If you want to see the map in person head over to SPURS website and check out the many events they hold in the space.

Get ready to hear more about data visualization when Eric Rodenbeck of Stamen
gives us his perspective on June 15 at the VMA Design Conference as part of San Francisco Design Week. And yes, this article was hijacked from the Stamen website. Check it out!

Whiskey Series Takes Inspiration From Wild West

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Born in upstate New York but “like many freedom loving Americans before him,” Josh Jevons made the journey west. Now based in Denver CO, Jevons has used this as an inspiration for packaging for the Grand Teton Distillery that captures the spirit of the Wild West.

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The series visualizes stories and myths of legendary pioneers, frontiersmen and adventurers of the wild American west. Says Jevons: “From Teddy Roosevelt’s dagger-clad bout with a puma to a bloodthirsty manhunt by Blackfoot tribesmen, these labels celebrate the western spirit of adventure, tenacity and grit.”

EXCLUSIVE MOCKUPS FOR BRANDING AND PACKAGING DESIGN

The labels feature custom diecuts and metallic ink, and feature custom illustrations and handcrafted type. Continues Jevons: “The aesthetic is intended to communicate the rugged nature of the stories as well as the place in which the whiskeys are made, the Teton mountains, while maintaining a modern feel.”

EXCLUSIVE MOCKUPS FOR BRANDING AND PACKAGING DESIGN

This article originally appeared in GDUSA.

Where Are We At With Recycling?

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By: Dr. Andrew H. Dent

A quiet revolution is now occurring in the world of recycling that has been presaged for some time now but became significant at the start of this year. If we are lucky, it might produce a sea-change in the way we think about how we package our products.

Normally, both in the US and EU, various types of lower quality packaging and other waste was sold to China as a resource for different secondary uses, like the production of recycled products. In recent years, China has been taking about half the world’s paper and plastic recyclables, but as of January of this year, National Sword has banned 24 different types of solid waste. At current rates, the shipment of these types of resources to China are down a whopping 97%.

So, what does this mean? Well, it meddles with many of the recycling statistics which assumed that shipping waste to China, but it also affects many recycling businesses, with container ships of waste material essentially stranded without a place to unload, and most likely, vastly reduced revenues. Europe has not been spared either, as approximately 12% of its waste had also been making the same trip to Chinese ports.

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But what initially seemed like a disaster for the recycling industry might just prove to be a real turning point. With the ongoing concerns throughout the world regarding the amount of waste being deposited into our oceans, it may be the push we need to get everyone moving in the right direction when it comes packaging.

On April 11, 2018, the Plastic Industry Association and 11 other partner associations delivered a request for the House to advance an infrastructure investment package to address the US need for better recycling efforts and innovation. High on the list is a request for improvements to be made in facilities so that they can sort waste more efficiently and selectively. Additionally, money is getting spent by many of the big players to improve materials, infrastructure, and education with companies such as Amazon, International Paper, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and others spending big to create a more circular economy when it comes to packaging.

European Union regulators declared a new policy agenda in late January of this year starting with the goal that all plastic packaging on the market will be recyclable or reusable by 2030. They’ve also declared war on single-use plastics such as straws, bottles that do not degrade, coffee cups, lids and stirrers, cutlery and takeaway containers as Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste annually, but less than 30% of it is recycled.

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Interestingly enough, Chinese companies are starting recycling facilities in America, seeing the potential for a greater amount of specialized recycling within the continental US. Ecomelida Inc., the United States subsidiary of China-based Zhangzhou Sanlida Environmental Technology Corp., intends to locate its first facility handling marketable paper and plastic scrap separated from beverage cartons, aseptic packaging and paper mill pulp byproducts in South Carolina. The recycled plastics extracted, largely polyethylene (PE), will be used in foam, cast plastic parts, and other products.

The actual recycling itself is getting more efficient too with chemical recycling of plastics creating virgin sources by companies such as Perpetual in the US and the DEMETO consortium in the EU. Additionally, improved sorting of paper-based products such as gable tops (the Tropicana type poly-coated paper cartons) is progressing as well. Waste Management, Tropicana Products, Dean Foods and select carton manufacturers have launched a program in which residents can discard these containers in regular recycling bins at no additional charge. Started in Florida, this program has been expanded to communities across the US.

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This combined effort that springs from concerns about our oceans as well as the bottom line for recyclers will precipitate a new approach to the treatment of our packaging and waste in general, forcing governments, brands, designers and even consumers to bring about a real change in the way we value these materials.


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Dr. Andrew H. Dent

Dr. Andrew Dent is Executive Vice President of Research at Material ConneXion, and Chief Material Scientist at SANDOW. He plays a key role in the expansion of Material ConneXion’s technical knowledge base. His research directs the implementation of consulting projects and the selection of innovative, sustainable and advanced materials to Material ConneXion’s library, which currently houses over 8,000 material samples.

Dr. Dent received his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Cambridge in England. Prior to joining Material ConneXion, Dr. Dent held a number of research positions both in industry and academia. At Rolls Royce PLC, Dr. Dent specialized in turbine blades for the present generation of jet engines. He has completed postdoctoral research at Cambridge University and at the Center for Thermal Spray Research, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY. Other research projects, during this period, included work for the US Navy, DARPA, NASA, and the British Ministry of Defense.

Since joining Material Connexion, Dr. Dent has helped hundreds of clients—from Whirlpool and Adidas to BMW and Procter & Gamble—develop or improve their products through the use of innovative materials. A leading expert on sustainable materials, his insight has played an important part in creating a new generation of more sustainable products.

He is a frequent speaker on sustainable and innovative material strategies, having given two TED talks at TEDx Grand Rapids and TEDNYC, and is the co-author of the Material Innovation book series. Dr. Dent has also contributed to numerous publications on the subject of material science, including Business Week, Fast Company and the Financial Times.

This article originally appeared in Dieline.

60-Second Super-Cool Fold of Another Week

Nearly 300 episodes strong, thousands of professionals around the globe look forward to my weekly dose of folded inspiration.

Get a sample of her inspirations here and also at the VMA Design Conference June 15 in San Francisco.

The 7 Habits Of Highly Creative People

The most commonly held belief about creativity is that it’s elusive, esoteric and unique only to the anointed few.

The ancient Greeks believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons. They called these spirits daemons. The Romans had a similar idea as well but called the spirit a genius.

Centuries later, not much has changed. The only difference is that we no longer attribute creativity to divine spirits, but to special individuals. We think that it’s only Beethoven, Picasso and Mozart who have creative genius.

Except that’s not true.

Today, we deconstruct and analyse even the most elusive of processes. We come to understand that there are specific behaviours and mindsets which anyone can use to reach a desired result.

Here are the seven behaviours of highly creative people.

1. Steal Like An Artist

There is a truth that the aspiring creative must first recognise. We need only turn to Austin Kleon’s book, Steal Like an Artist, to learn this:

“What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”

One must realise that the idea and inspiration for a piece of work comes from many sources at once. Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of previous ideas. It’s why, quoting Jonathan Lethem, Kleon writes that “when people call something ‘original,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.”

Hence the recommendation — steal like an artist.

The good artist emulates the style of another as closely as he can. The great artist selects elements from others’ work and incorporates them into his own mix of influences. He does so tastefully, knowing that the right fusion will create something that is uniquely his, although not completely original.

So learn to steal like an artist — the entire world is up for grabs.

2. Always Be Researching

To find something worth stealing, one must look in the right places.

Input facilitates output. There’s no getting around that. The quality of the information one consumes determines the quality of work one will produce.In a world where noise often drowns out the signal, finding the best ideas can often be difficult.

There are two ways to get around this. The first is what Kleon calls branching, which is useful for exploring variations of an idea.

“Chew on one thinker. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go.”

That’s not the only method of sieving out valuable ideas. Originality stems from creating something that has never been seen before. Which is why bestselling author Ryan Holiday turns to the classics whenever he is in doubt.

Classic pieces are ‘classic’ for a reason. They’ve survived the test of time. The philosophy of Stoicism goes back to the ancient Greeks, but Holiday showed how those ideas are relevant today in his books Ego Is The Enemy and The Obstacle Is The Way. He didn’t come up with those ideas; he applied them.

It’s not enough to just observe your surroundings. The creative actively seek out the best ideas from all places. They’re always researching.

3. Enter New Domains

As we gain more experience and expertise in our work, we become more entrenched in a particular way of viewing the world. It makes us more efficient as we eliminate part of the thinking process, but the downside is that we become less receptive to new ideas and less responsive to changes.

It’s as Abraham Maslow observed: he that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.

That’s a death sentence for any creative who hopes to do good work. It’s also the surest way for a company to go out of business within the next few years.

Search engines had existed long before Google along, but were limited in use because the results displayed weren’t what users wanted. Google changed that when it adopted a new approach for returning results, choosing to focus on quality rather than popularity.

The inspiration for this change? Academic publishing.

In the academic world, one can easily determine the quality and relevance of a paper by how often it is cited. The best research papers rise to the top, while the more limited ones fade into obscurity. It was an elegant idea which Larry Page was only too happy to introduce into Google’s search algorithm. It’s now known in the world of Search-Engine Optimisation (SEO) as back-links.

Original and creative solutions don’t always come from reinventing the wheel. Rather, it comes from developing innovative applications, not imagine completely new concepts.

You can start by finding two completely different ideas and combining them.

Or as James Altucher puts it: have idea sex.

4. Be More Prolific

Thomas Edison was famous for being relentless in experimenting. The sheer quantity of his experiments would eventually result in him holding the record for having the most patents — over 1090 in his name. Picasso painted over 20,000 works. Bach composed at least one work a week.

Most of these works never amounted to much. They were creations which the average man on the street would never have taken a second look at. It turns out that none of us can accurately predict which ideas will hit and which will miss.

The solution? Produce so much work that one piece will inevitably stick. If only one idea for every ten that you come up with is good, all it means is that you should be working on a hundred ideas to come up with ten good ones.The same goes for writing, composing, or painting.

It’s widely assumed that there’s a trade-off between quantity and quality — if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it — but this turns out to be false. Quantity breeds quality. The act of creating something, no matter how lousy, is practice for creating a better one.

And that’s why Steve Jobs rightly said, “real artists ship”.

5. Give Yourself Permission To Suck

Creating more work sounds like a good idea in theory, but it’s difficult in application. The single and most important reason is that we don’t give ourselves permission to suck.

Stephen Pressfield knows this too. IThe War of Art, he names the fear that all creatives have — he calls it the Resistance.

“The amateur, on the other hand, over-identifies with his avocation, his artistic aspiration. He defines himself by it. He is a musician, a painter, a playwright.Resistance loves this. Resistance knows that the amateur composer will never write his symphony because he is overly invested in its success and over-terrified of its failure. The amateur takes it so seriously it paralyses him.”

The problem is that we’ve been trained to tie our self-worth to our accomplishments. If that’s the case, who then, would willingly create a piece of work that would be used to judge him?

For this reason, Pressfield says that we must turn from amateur to professional. Only then can we produce truly creative work.

“Resistance wants us to stake our self-worth, our identity, our reason-for-being, on the response of others to our work. Resistance knows we can’t take this. No one can. The professional blows critics off. He doesn’t even hear them. Critics, he reminds himself, are the unwitting mouthpieces of Resistance.”

The way to creativity is to create a lot, and the way to create a lot is to give ourselves permission to suck. People will forget the mistakes and garbage we make, but will remember our best works.

6. Embrace Constraints

There are many barriers that can prevent us from creating a good piece of work. But the essence of creativity is making do with what we have. In fact, Austin Kleon suggests that it is necessary:

“Nothing is more paralysing than the idea of infinite possibilities. The best way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself.”

He goes on to explain how having less helps us:

“One, getting really good at creative work requires a lot of time and attention, and that means cutting a lot of fluff out of your life so that you have that extra time and attention. And two, creativity in our work is often a matter of what we choose to leave out, rather than leave in — what is unspoken vs. spoken, what isn’t shown vs. what is, etc.”

Constraints are not the enemy. Many creatives understood that and went on to produce masterpieces because of constraints, not despite them.

Dr. Seuss was challenged to write a children’s book with only 50 words. The result was Green Eggs and Ham, which went on to sell over 200 million copies.Having constraints was so vital to fuelling creativity that Dr Seuss would set his own limits to work with for his other books. For example, The Cat In The Hat was written using only a first-grade vocabulary list.

But perhaps the most famous example is Hemingway’s six word story. Nobody is likely to forget For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn anytime soon.

7. Develop Your Ritual

Creativity doesn’t come easily.

The process is frustrating. There’s hardly a good barometer with which we can use to measure our progress. It’s elusive. It’s why we give ourselves a pass whenever we can’t come up with good ideas or do any creative work.

But what does the architect, the lawyer, or the doctor do when they aren’t inspired? They still get down to work.

It’s essential then that we create a routine or ritual which we can rely on. Systems work, and prevent us from falling victim to our mood. The painter, Chuck Close was unequivocal on this point:

“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great art [idea].[…]If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.”

Creativity is a process. There’s a system that one can apply methodically to generate good ideas. It’s not an esoteric field that is the sole domain of the genius. But one must do the work, no matter how difficult.

Just remember Chuck Close’s last line — if you hang in there, you will get somewhere.


National Geographic Redesigns Print Edition

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National Geographic‘s May issue marks the unveiling of its most significant redesign in nearly two decades, increasing the quality of its paper stock, introducing a new front-of-book section, and creating additional room for the photography and visual storytelling that are at the core of the brand. The iconic yellow border is retained and referenced. “The new National Geographic delivers the same sense of wonder readers expect but with a bolder, more provocative, more captivating eye,” said editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg.

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To develop the new design and the strategy around it, Goldberg, along with Emmet Smith, creative director for the magazine, teamed with Godfrey Dadich Partners who helped conceive the look  and feel of the new features, as well as a pair of new typefaces that debut with the redesign. “This next evolution of National Geographic brings to bear the full set of tools available to the contemporary magazine,” adds Smith. “It allows us to more fully showcase the spectacular work of our photographers, reporters, and artists — and, in turn, provide an even better magazine for our readers.”

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The design firm grew out of a project to redesign WIRED magazine when Scott Dadich was editor and asked Patrick Godfrey headed his own studio. “It was an honor for us to collaborate on such an iconic brand – to dive into a 130-year history of cartography, photography, typefaces, and journalism, then design a new kind of magazine for today,” comments Dadich. “Redesigning the magazine enhances its ability to deepen people’s understanding of the world and their role in it.”

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This article originally appeared in GDUSA.

60-Second Super-Cool Fold of the Week

Nearly 300 episodes strong, thousands of professionals around the globe look forward to Trish’s weekly dose of folded inspiration. Get a sample of her inspirations here and also at the VMA Design Conference June 15 in San Francisco.

Pentagram rebrands Battersea dogs and cats home to visualize “personality over sentiment”

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Pentagram has rebranded London’s dogs and cats charity Battersea, introducing a “family” of watercolour illustrated characters as its icons. Led by partners Marina Willer and Naresh Ramchandani, the rebrand of the renowned charity includes it dropping the “dogs and cats home” from its name, and introducing a tagline “Here for every dog and cat”. The identity intends to visualise the charity’s commitment to unconditionally care for all the animals that come through its doors.

The rebrand retains Battersea’s signature blue colour, used across abstract illustrations to represent a variety of dogs and cats, and subtly communicate the charity’s story. The illustrations are pared back and devoid of facial features, while remaining expressive and showing individuality. “They appeal to people’s compassion and humanity, without victimising or stigmatising the animals,” Pentagram explains. The sharp wordmark aims to balance the aesthetic of these hand-drawn images, employing the typeface Franklin Gothic, which Pentagram says “injects an element of authority” to the identity.

The thinking behind removing “dogs and cats home” from the name stems from the word “home” implying a permanent dwelling for the animals, when in fact the intention of the charity is to re-home them with families. Pentagram also says it wrongly implies the charity operates in just one location, as opposed to its three sites.

Pentagram worked with Battersea to develop the brand strategy, tone of voice and visual identity to present the charity “as both a compassionate caregiver and a leading authority in animal welfare, creating a brand that strikes a balance between warmth and expertise,” the design studio states. Its approach was to “strike out against” negative connotations used by the charity sector such as “shock tactics, well-worn tropes, and euphemistic and overly-sentimental language,” preferring a honest and straightforward image. This includes a suite of portrait photography that “puts personality over sentiment”, showing the eclectic creatures that can be found in its homes.

The branding was also designed to be flexible, to adapt to various campaigns and fundraising initiatives, for example Muddy Dog. For this campaign, the identity is given a “playful spin” using a hand-drawn typeface “Battersea Paws” and tongue-in-cheek headlines.

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Coca-Cola Packaging To Sing a Different Tune

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This summer, Coca-Cola will again try to teach the world to sing — this time with a little help from its bottles and cans. In a new phase of its “Share a Coke” campaign, the cola giant will put song lyrics pulled from more than 70 popular songs on packaging. Lyrics cover a range of music, from rock ‘n’ roll classics like Queen’s “We are the Champions” to patriotic songs such as “Proud to Be An American” by Lee Greenwood. Coke will also include lyrics from some of its iconic campaigns, such as I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke.

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The campaign, called “Share a Coke and a Song,” will be supported by music-themed spots, social media and a summer-long experiential tour. The campaign will encompass Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life, advancing a new one-brand strategy that unites multiple varieties together in the same marketing.

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Agencies on the campaign include Wieden+Kennedy, Portland for creative; Universal McCann for media;Arc Worldwide for shopper marketing; Cornerstone for music; Fast Horse for PR and FortyFour and Irban Group for e-commerce. Coke plans to extend its campaign to mobile by encouraging consumers to use the Shazam app to scan specially marked 20-ounce bottles and in-store signage. That will allow users to record a 15-second digital lip-sync video that can be shared on social media using the hashtag #ShareaCoke, according to the brand.

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