Innovative packaging enables brands to create a subcategory that meets consumers’ needs for convenience with their desires for luxury experiences, ultra-modern aesthetics, and packaging with second lives.
With its TableLuxe line of tableware, Waddington North America sought to offer two benefits for consumers who enjoy hosting their own parties.
The first was to provide a line of home entertaining products that offered the convenience of disposability, but with an upscale look. The second was to offer those products in packaging that solved the issues of how to display the tableware during a party and how to store it afterward.
“The need was something we had noticed from consumers,” says Jennifer Heller, director of consumer sales and retail marketing for WNA. “We had seen a void for home consumers in terms of a premium disposable product that was practical but also aesthetically pleasing.
“When we talk about the physical products, premium to us means it can withstand the heaviest foods,” she adds. “For the home consumer, it tells the hostess she never has to be embarrassed because the plate breaks or the knife snaps while the guest is cutting something.”
WNA, now part of Newell Brands, has manufactured that kind of tableware for caterers, restaurants and others in the food-service industry since the 1970s. Most of the product mix included in the TableLuxe line was selected from WNA’s existing offerings, and chosen based on consumer research. About 40 SKUs were included in the initial rollout, though more can be added as needed.
Path to Luxury
Initial research for TableLuxe began late in 2014, as WNA partnered with Goldstein Group Branding (GGB) to build a consumer-specific brand. The research identified a target demographic of upscale women, members of the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X, who are avid entertainers beyond the holiday season.
GGB conducted several rounds of consumer research in developing the brand. That included putting together a group of 30 women who fit the demographic and filming their in-home entertaining for six weeks, including Thanksgiving dinner. Consumer research helped determine the product mix, which colors would be available, and the brand position. Consumers preferred TableLuxe among several name options.
“It was the whole idea of luxurious, disposable entertaining,” says Terri Goldstein, CEO at Goldstein Group Branding. “By combining ‘table’ and ‘lux,’ it communicates that it’s haute couture for their table; it’s luxury tableware.”
An Unmet Need in an Established CPG Category
That research is also where the idea came from to sell TableLuxe products in a package that doubles as a tabletop display and a storage unit. “That was a big aha moment—seeing that the storage solution would be so important,” Goldstein says. “The research uncovered the storage problem—these messy drawers, opening cabinets and plates are all over the place.”
To design a package that would double as an appealing tabletop-display caddy, WNA turned to Unicorr and Keystone Paper and Box, two companies with which it regularly works. Keystone used an amorphous-PET plastic for the cover, which slides over a solid bleached sulfate (SBS) board base that is brighter than most SBS substrates, and the printing uses a four-color opaque.
“For the cover, it’s a tuck design where the tuck goes to the bottom, so it can slide over the base,” says Jim Rutt, president of Keystone Paper and Box. “They wanted to be able to have the visibility of the product inside, so the consumer could see it completely. We had to take into consideration the height of the base and design the cover so enough of the product could be displayed above the bottom panel.”
By using a base and the sliding cover, the suppliers created a package strong enough to work as the tabletop display, giving the host an easy way to place the TableLuxe products in front of guests. Because the clear cover slides back on, leftover products can be easily stored in the same rectangular package that fits on retail shelves.
“This is a true example where the product is part of the functionality,” Heller says. “Every part of the package is either the caddy you use to display it or part of the storage solution.”
Displays that Leave the Competition Flat at Retail
The sturdy package also allows all the merchandise to be displayed vertically at retail. For certain TableLuxe products, such as the 10-pack of plates, that helps them stand out on store shelves where competitor products lay flat. That also means more brand messaging is visible to the consumer.
All packaging for TableLuxe prominently displays its logo, an octagon shape that features a crossed fork and knife above the brand name in capital letters, and then the brand position of “So luxurious you won’t want to throw it away.”
Behind that logo is a horizontal strip that includes the phrase “Stylish Settings Sophisticated Storage,” highlighting the package’s multiple purposes, and a colorful rectangle that calls out the specific product and quantity in the pack. The package features a black ribbon wrapped around its left side, a gift-like look evoking the idea of parties. Designer patterns along the perimeter of the caddy reinforce the idea that the package is also a display, while text on the back of the package goes into more detail about the caddy and storage benefits.
The products that were selected for the TableLuxe brand include square dinner plates and salad plates, wine glasses, flutes, clear cups and coffee mugs with swizzle stick stirrers, rectangular serving trays and metallic-looking flatware, as well as cocktail and dinner napkins.
The individual products all have branded names, such as Faux Flatware and Luxe Plates, and the packaging for each includes a product-specific slogan such as “Bash in a Box,” “For Breaking out the Bubbly,” or “To Serve it Up in Style.” The product line also includes packages such as the “Table for Ten,” which includes 10 place settings including large and small plates, with flatware and, of course, the caddy.
From Every Day to Special Occasions
TableLuxe products were previewed to retailers in the summer and fall of 2015, and first became available to consumers earlier this year via Target online. In-store rollout included Target, HomeGoods and Market Basket, while the brand was still available through online retailers such as Amazon.
This summer, TableLuxe products with a fireworks pattern rolled out in time for Independence Day parties. Taking full advantage of design execution and printing processes that enable seasonable offerings, TableLuxe, Heller says, plans to introduce even more holiday-specific variations.
Originally published in Package Design Magazine, September 2016