We’ve all heard the term “reinventing the wheel”. It means that someone is wasting their time trying to create something that already exists. Right? But what if you had to invent a new kind of retail package…a wheel configuration with a unique feature? Specifically, it needed to have a circular shape that could hold thirty Sharpie® markers, fit inside a certain size box, meet tight budget and time constraints, use some curbside recyclable materials…and bring a new innovative feature to this pack. That would be a tall order for any packaging manufacturer, right? But that’s exactly the kind of ‘out-of-the-box’ challenges the combined design and engineering teams at Newell Brands and Rohrer like to tackle. And the Sharpie® Spinner Pack is a perfect example. Together, they created a blockbuster of a package that blew the socks off their key customer’s decision makers.
Newell Brands is a leading global consumer goods company with a strong portfolio of wellknown brands, including Rubbermaid®, Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Dymo®, EXPO®, Parker®, and Mr. Coffee® to name a few. They are committed to enhancing the lives of consumers around the world with environmentally responsible, innovative, and attractive products. Every year, Newell Brands creates Black Friday Holiday promotional packs. Certain packs become so popular; it sells out within minutes after customers opens their post-Thanksgiving doors. Each year has fun themes such as zoo animals or spaceships, with the added bonus of coloring pages – a perfect gift for the Sharpie® marker fan. However, each year forces Newell to brainstorm yet another creative theme for the next holiday Sharpie® marker promotion.
It all started back in the summer of 2019, when Newell brought together key stakeholders for an aptly named “Innovation Session”. This is where brainstorming and creative ideas were presented for the 2020 Black Friday Holiday Sharpie® marker Promotion.
They wanted to do something different from previous years, so the idea of an interactive package started to take shape – quite literally with the markers configured in a wheel. And then, for that store display pizzazz – why not make it spin? If they eliminated the window film, any shopper would be lured into spinning the colorful Sharpie® wheel on the shelf just for fun. And with colorful graphics supporting the tag line, “Spin the Tray” and “What’s your favorite”, the concept not only gained acceptance but created excitement in both Newell’s and the key customer’s leadership.
Although the Innovation Team had a ‘sky’s the limit’ freedom on creativity, there were strict production mandates to be followed in terms of the number of markers, budget, box dimensions and curbside recyclable materials. And with the open box feature to spin the wheel on the store shelf, theft deterrent was yet another consideration. Given these constraints, the Newell packaging engineering team of Randel Canlas, Kaila Sparkman, and Trey Good drew up a preliminary blueprint that looked good on paper but knew that they faced major technical issues from the start; fitting markers in a circular fashion, securing them in place, and having the wheel spin.
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