Perhaps fast food giant Burger King was on to more than they knew with their old slogan: “Have it your way.” With vanity packaging now all the rage, consumers are having their product packaging personalized, and new digital printing technologies are leading the charges. The giants of the $500 billion packaged food industry are leaping onto one of the hottest trends in the marketing world today: mass customization.
For a premium price, consumers are already buying M&Ms etched with their own names along with Wheaties boxes featuring their own pictures. Hershey has also been offering chocolate bars that feature personalized bar mitzvah or new baby kudos.
New digital printing technologies are making it more and more affordable to personalize the packaging on a wide variety of products. As personalized customization becomes more in vogue thanks to the creation of consumer Web sites and products like the iPod, there’s no limit to where the technology will show up next.
“These companies are co-branding their products with the thing that matters most: you,” says Tracey Riese, a brand consultant, in a recent interview with USA Today. “They don’t give up the brand, but they get their most loyal customers to identify it with themselves.”
Heinz puts the cost for a personalized ketchup bottle at approximately $6, but those in the printing industry say those costs are heading downward.