Fix-a-Form International’s ANDREW DENNY recently visited South Africa to reinforce Pyrotec’s position as the South African licensee. He talks to GILL LOUBSER about on-pack information and promotions.

BACK in the mid-1970s, responding to the needs of an agrochemical company, the first multi-page leaflet-label combination was designed by UK company, Denny Bros. This marked the birth of Fix-a-Form, which quickly experienced rip-roaring growth in the UK packaging market.

As a result of this success, Fix-a-Form International was established in 1983, as an offshoot of Denny Bros (itself founded in 1945), to promote worldwide sales – effected via carefully selected licensees, the first of which was Pyrotec in South Africa.

Since then the Fix-a-Form concept has helped many of the world’s leading brand owners to enhance their packaging.

Caption: Andrew Denny with Pyrotec’s sales and marketing manager, Stephen Beattie, at Pyrotec’s headquarters in Capricorn Park, Muizenberg, where the building now sports its recently-upgraded corporate identity.

All this is explained by Andrew Denny, MD of Fix-a-Form International, during a visit to Pyrotec’s headquarters at Capricorn Park (Cape Town). Apart from catching up with the Beattie family, Andrew was in South Africa to witness the unveiling of a new sales agreement between Pyrotec and Collotype (PPM Apr10, p29).

As a member of the Denny dynasty, and having worked at the family firm of Denny Bros for most of his career, Andrew was appointed MD of Fix-a-Form International eight years ago and has become an acknowledged expert on the subject of on-pack information and promotions.

The company enjoys an extensive patent portfolio relating to both its product range and its machinery; and operating via an exclusive network of 20 licensees, all independent label printing specialists (such as Pyrotec in South Africa), Fix-a-Form International ensures local supply to the highest global quality standards around the globe.

So what’s so special about Fix-a-Form’s products?

In answer to this question, Andrew points out that roughly half of all labels sold worldwide provide information, while the other half are designed for promotional purposes.

Providing information is particularly critical within the healthcare, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and here the prime benefit of the Fix-a-Form label is that it stays with the container throughout its life, whereas traditional package inserts tend to get discarded with the secondary packaging.

‘In fact,’ Andrew relates, by way of illustration, ‘in the US, around 25% of serious medication errors are said to be related to sound-alike or look-alike labelling and packaging, with serious or fatal effects. And in the UK, it’s estimated that one-third of medication errors are caused by confusion over packaging and labelling instructions. In addition, pharmaceutical companies often have to produce information in a number of different languages on a single label, while maintaining the readability of the information provided to ensure patient compliance. For all these reasons, there’s a real opportunity to use multi-page labels on pharmaceutical products.’

He goes on to point out that the promotional angle offers huge potential for Fix-a-Form, as effective presentation on the retail shelf has a direct impact on whether or not the customer chooses one brand over another.

‘Considering nearly three quarters of purchase decisions of FMCG products are made in-store, the necessity for eye-catching packaging is paramount,’ Andrew comments.

On-pack promotions need to be carefully devised to achieve maximum impact, since the average consumer takes approximately 0,2 seconds to make a purchase decision; and it’s the packaging that interacts directly with the consumer who’s making that decision.

In Andrew’s view, the use of on-pack promotions – such as Fix-a-Form labels – can prompt consumers to unplanned purchases, while improving brand awareness and educating consumers about product features.

Sometimes the sheer volume of information that needs to be communicated can result in tiny font sizes, poor legibility, and a cluttered appearance. This is where the Fix-a-Form booklet label plays a key role for today’s clever marketers.

Ongoing investment

At its headquarters in Suffolk, UK, Fix-a-Form International recently bucked the downturn by investing in the latest state-of-the-art vertical milling centre, adding significantly to the company’s machining capacity.

This £100 000+ investment is being used extensively to produce custom-designed machine components and spare parts for Fix-a-Form’s global network of label printers.

‘Despite the worldwide economic downturn we believe demand for our products will continue to grow and this was the right time to invest, particularly as this asset improves our efficiencies,’ Andrew comments.

This attitude underlines Fix-a-Form’s commitment to its network of international licenses.

‘Our headquarters are a hub for the Fix-a-Form network,’ Andrew explains. ‘It’s from here that we disseminate best practice information, technical support and designs to our global associates. And this is complemented by our annual licensee conferences which focus (in alternate years) on two key areas – business trends and technical developments.’

Asked about his views on the South African market, Andrew replies: ‘I have always been proud of the success Pyrotec has achieved with Fix-a-Form in South Africa, where the Pyrotec and Fix-a-Form brands are now synonymous with on-pack solutions. Pyrotec continues to break new ground in terms of leaflet-label solutions and applications, and strives to offer cost-effective solutions.

‘Looking forward,’ he continues, ‘there are still many markets where Fix-a-Form has a bigger role to play. While the global downturn has brought challenges to all of us, it has forced manufacturers to look again at their total line costs. In many cases leaflet-labels can reduce overall packaging line costs and improve logistics throughout the supply chain. In promotional applications, leaflet-labels can provide instant brand presence at point of purchase and point of use. And we are seeing the development of new informational applications, such as wine labelling,’ are his closing words.

Case study

IN one of Fix-a-Form’s biggest success stories to date, with over several hundred million pieces being produced between 2003 and 2007, Pago Group created a solid bond with German company, Zott, by running a series of popular promotions, including collectibles such as stickers, lenticulars, temporary tattoos and magnets.

One example is a range of ‘3D Zoo Characters’ created for inclusion on yoghurt and milk drinks. There are ten different characters in the set to collect, each one with a set of body parts. They’re die-cut from 220g/m2 board for assembly.

This entertaining insert is a sure-fire way to encourage kids and parents to pick this product off the shelf time after time. To ensure the 3D figures were rigid enough for assembly and to stand up on their own, a 220g/m2 card was printed and pre-die-cut to create the front cover and insert. A removable adhesive affixes the insert and front cover to clear PP film.

A PAGOmat label applicator was used to apply the labels to both the cartons of yoghurt and the drink cartons at high speed.

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