Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has introduced a bill requiring household cleaning products such as furniture polish and laundry detergent to fully disclose all ingredients on their product labels, including chemicals that might be hazardous to the long-term health of both humans and the environment. Cleaning product labels are currently required by law to contain warnings designed to prevent short-term harm due to swallowing, contact with eyes, and other unintended uses.
“Moms and dads have a right to know whether harmful chemicals are present in their kitchen cupboards,” Franken stated in a press release about Bill S. 1697. “When my wife Franni and I were raising our own kids, we were constantly concerned with what we used to wash their cribs, their pacifiers, the floors, and surfaces they played on. This is just a common-sense measure to help parents keep their kids safe and healthy.”
The “Household Product Labelling Act of 2009″ would also help consumers make more informed decisions about purchasing household products containing ingredients that are safe for most people, but can be major irritants for adults and children with health conditions such as asthma. The proposed legislation would make such information readily available to consumers.
According to the packaging news website Packworld.com, the bill is popular among environmental groups and children’s health organizations; and is viewed as “unneccessary and potentially confusing” by the cleaning products industry. The Soap and Detergent Association, for one, is concerned that there is not enough room to put additional information on their members’ product labels. The association is promoting a voluntary initiative as an alternative to the bill that would encourage manufacturers to point consumers towards websites and 800 numbers for further information if they did not have room to list all ingredients on their product labels.
The September issue of Brand Packaging magazine had an interesting article titled Designing for Retail Realities. The main idea of the article is that we don’t just need outstanding packaging that will break through the clutter but we need packaging that stands out in real life conditions – how it actually appears on the retail store shelf.
Yesterday as I was browsing my local grocery store I thought about this article. Many aisles had immaculate shelves with the product labels all pointing in the same direction on the shelf so the consumer could easily see the labels. Then there was the shelf with the product in the photo above. I snapped this photo with my iPhone and you can see that someone had picked up this product and put it back carelessly. It made this product less visually appealing on the shelf.
Now look at the products in this photo above. Again it was taken with my iPhone so it is a little fuzzy but it illustrates my point well. This is a product that shows well, and because of its unusual shape if someone picks it up they will likely put it back on the shelf exactly as they found it.
Most of the products on the supermarket shelf have round bottles with one wraparound product label. So it is easy for a grocery store clerk or a shopper to put the bottles on the shelf in a haphazard way. With a bottle that has an obvious front and back, like the Annie’s Naturals brand, there is less likelihood of this happening.
Of course, I am not suggesting everyone switch from round bottles. Almost all wine bottles are round and wine is one of the most label-conscious products there are. But notice that most wine bottles have an obvious front and back label so it is easier to display them correctly on the shelf. Whatever container you use it is important to be aware of the impact that the shape of your container has on your product’s visibility on the supermarket shelf.
Limited edition bottle designs for Coca-Cola were recently spotlighted at Milan Fashion Week. Famous Italian fashion designers such as Donatella Versace and Alberta Ferretti each stamped their signature style on the designs, which can be seen in the video created for Milan Fashion Week above or on the packaging design blog TheDieline.com.
Coca-Cola commissioned the limited edition designs for its “Tribute to Fashion” fundraiser. Profits from the sell of the limited edition bottles of Coca-Cola Light will fund scholarships for young women affected by the April earthquake that killed 229 people and left thousands homeless in Abruzzio, Italy.
Interested in getting your own designer bottle of Coca-Cola Light? Then you better hurry up and book your airline ticket for Milan now! The limited edition bottles are currently only being sold in the fashion epicenter.
Originally from Sydney, Australia, Peter Renton moved to Denver, Colorado, in 1991 to start a branch of his family label business, Renton’s Inc. Seizing the opportunity to start a 21st century label printing business using only the latest technology, he started Lightning Labels in 2002 when Renton Inc’s primary label vendor went bankrupt.
Lightning Labels grew very fast. As a result, Peter sold Renton’s Inc. in July, 2005, in order to focus his full attention on Lightning Labels. He also hired an old friend and technology veteran, Steve Smith, as President of Lightning Labels. Today, Lightning Labels is one of the fastest growing label printers in the country.
Peter has always enjoyed writing and sharing what he knows. He has a degree in computer science and has always tried to keep up with the latest technology. This blog allows Peter to blend his love of writing with technology in one place.
Peter Renton Founder
2369 S. Trenton Way
Denver, CO 80231
Toll Free: 888-685-2235
Fax: 303-695-0441 Email Me www.lightninglabels.com
Christy Correll joined Lightning Labels in early 2009 with a background in Internet marketing, nonprofit work, and newspaper journalism. In each professional role she has held, her favorite responsibilities have been those that allowed her to tell stories. She enjoys connecting with audiences through a variety of mediums, including the written word, photography, digital design, and interactive multimedia. Blogging allows Christy to combine her passion for storytelling with her fascination with new media and the ever-changing Internet.
Christy has a degree in English/Journalism from BaylorUniversity. A native Texan, she moved to Denver in 2008 from Charlotte, North Carolina. She enjoys attempting to tire out her Shetland sheepdog, Scout, through a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, running and snowshoeing. When Scout hasn’t completely worn her out, she also enjoys participating in her community, making things, and reading just about anything she can get her hands on.
Christy Correll Online Marketing
2369 S. Trenton Way
Denver, CO 80231
Toll Free: 888-685-2235
Fax: 303-695-0441 Email Me www.lightninglabels.com
To throw your hat in the ring, email Lovely Package with your name and shipping address by October 31, 2009. Winners will be selected in a drawing.
Gestalten released the 220-page hardcover book by editors R. Klanten and S. Ehmann this week. According to Lovely Packaging, Boxed and Labelled “is a must have for any designer or lover of beautiful package design.” Amazon.com is currently selling copies of Boxed and Labelled for $43.87 with free shipping.
LabelExpo is the largest trade show for the label printing industry. Every September it alternates between Chicago and Brussels, this year was the European edition (which is far bigger than the US version) that ended a couple of days ago. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it over to the show but I followed updates from Label & Narrow Web magazine, Converting Magazine and live on Twitter.
Fellow label industry blogger, Adrian Steele of Mercian Labels in the UK, has an excellent roundup of the show posted on his blog today. It sounds like it was a good show with several new developments in digital label printing but nothing that looks like it would threaten the dominance of the HP-Indigo technology. Although to be fair, as Adrian points out on his blog, the Xeikon 3300 that was released last year is an excellent competitor to the HP. None of the new would be competitors that launched at LabelExpo can match the quality of either machine.
According to the Big Fat Marketing Blog!, Vitaminwater spokespeople country pop star Carrie Underwood and rapper 50 Cent will select the winning label design in December. The new product is expected to go to market by March 2010. The contest winner will not only get to see their design featured on Vitaminwater bottles around the world, but will be awarded a $5,000 prize as well.
Vitaminwater is currently inviting Facebook users to use the flavorcreator app to vote for a new flavor and vitamin formula for the new product release. The label design contest will be the final step in the creation of Vitaminwater’s user-designed product.
According to Fast Company, the list of flavors currently up for vote on flavorcreator was compiled from online conversations Vitaminwater listened in on at sites such as Twitter, Flickr, and Google News. The more a particular flavor was discussed in these online communities, the more likely it was to make the list.
Yes, you read that right. There is a video ad running in the current edition of Entertainment Weekly magazine. This is not an ad on their web site it is actually in the print edition of the magazine.
This is a world first. A paper thin video player is being embedded in the magazine that will begin running when a reader opens the magazine to the ad pages. Unfortunately, you can’t go out and just buy this magazine, it is only being sent to some Entertainment Weekly subscribers in the Los Angeles and New York City areas. The advertisers are CBS and Pepsi, with CBS featuring video of its upcoming fall TV shows and Pepsi promoting its Pepsi Max diet cola.
This is highly significant news in many ways. It means that video technology has advanced enough for screens to be paper thin. It means that a suitable power source to run these video screens has been developed that is also paper thin. So, it is only a matter of time now before we see these video screens on a product label. Sure, in reality we are probably many years or even decades away from seeing video ads on the shampoo bottles in your local grocery store. But I can see a day when high-end cosmetics, pharmaceuticals or wine carry a video ad on their label. I expect it will become common place in this coming decade.
One of the big obstacles to overcome will be environmental. I presume this magazine can no longer be included in the recycling stream. But this is not an insurmountable problem. Recyclers often have to allow for new materials. There will be a public backlash if the recycling stream is not able to handle this kind of electronics. Before video ads in magazines or on product labels become common place I expect this challenge will have been overcome.
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has proposed legislation that would pave the way for product carbon disclosure and labeling in the US.
“Nutrition labels have changed the way we think about food – giving us the measurements we need to make fully-informed, healthy choices,” Baldwin said in a press release issued by her office Sept. 11. “Carbon disclosure will tell us how much energy is used to bring a product to market – allowing us to make smart, energy-saving, and environmentally-friendly choices.”
Bill H.R. 3543 would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to initially conduct a study to establish a national program for measuring, reporting, and labeling the carbon content of products in the US. The agency would then be required to set up a national product carbon disclosure and labeling program based on the results of the study. Participation in the program would be voluntary, similar to other voluntary labeling programs such as ENERGY STAR.
The ultimate goal of carbon labeling is to empower consumers to help reduce carbon emissions by choosing products with smaller carbon footprints over competing ones that use up more of our natural resources. The full text of H.R. 3543 can be read at THOMAS, the Library of Congress’ website; or through the independent research websites GovTrack.us and Open Congress.
Barry Snyder is the Stickerman. He takes used produce stickers, the kind that you see on apples, oranges, pears and the like, and creates works of art from them. He has become a bit of a local celebrity appearing in the Denver Post, on the local TV news, and on the Food Network.
He has a unique hobby that is not only very creative but also eco-friendly. He receives thousands of used produce labels from people all over the world who support him in his work. He has a beautiful portfolio of artwork with each piece having been painstakingly created in his home studio.
If you want to help the Stickerman he gladly accepts donations of produce labels. You can send them to: Stickerman, P.O. Box 301 Erie, CO 80516.