Punching Above Your Weight

Sunday, August 11 2013
Punching Above Your Weight

Browsing through the shelves of your local High Street retailer (more often than not HMV) or local supermarket, the consumer is presented with a dazzling array of choices in terms of titles on offer.

And as well as the choice of films, from blockbusters that they’re fully aware of, through to DTV titles that have appeared from nowhere, punters are faced with an varied choice of packaging these titles come in – an O-ring here, some foil-blocking there, and, in ever larger numbers, lenticular sleeves.

As studios and independents alike vie for the hearts and minds (and wallets and purses) of consumers, the lenticular has become a valuable tool for distributors aiming to catch their eyes.

One company that’s only too aware of the need to get stand-out is eOne.

The distributor, both as eOne and Momentum, which joined forces under one roof earlier this year following the former’s acquisition of the latter, has excelled in working on the development of lenticular packaging in recent years.

You could trace the history of the lenticular, or, as it was once referred to, the 3D sleeve, back to, possibly, Independence Day in the mid-1990s, as Fox dressed up the blockbuster in a lenticular which showed the White House being blown to smithereens. (You could probably go back further, but this was the first “modern” title to benefit from such packaging.)

For Momentum, as was, you could probably trace it back to Outlander a few years ago. “We noticed a growing lack of opportunities to achieve true stand out in-store,” says Louisa Mitchell, formerly at Momentum and now at eOne. “Tasked with increasing our ship outs across DVD and Blu-ray this was clearly going to be a challenge.”

Outlander achieved a notable success on its release in 2009, outperforming all expectations in week one, then dropping away as the limited edition lenticular ran out. “It gave us an initial foray into this area and the highly skilled design and print techniques required to make it work,” says Mitchell

eOne has over the years worked extensively with its designers and production teams to get an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. One of the key lessons was to achieve depth and movement in the image. eOne is desperate to achieve what it often dubs the “crow effect”, where consumers make a beeline for the product. It’s honed its craft over the years, at both eOne and Momentum.

It’s evinced not just by historical records, but by a trip to any retailer. As we write this, Welcome To The Punch and Dark Skies are sitting pretty in stores and both look striking and impressive on the shelves. This is as good as it gets.

It may cost more, but as Mitchell notes: “On the right title, lenticular packaging clearly has the potential to make a significant impact at retail level.” The company’s own research and figures back this up: its titles sell more in the first week as a proportion of their ship figures than many big studio blockbuster releases, giving an indication of their desirability. Equally essential to getting the packaging right in terms of its looks, is also ensuring there are enough lenticulars to go round and prevent drop-off of sales in the second week.

“Many films are released with great-looking O-ring packaging, but even big studio films, genre-led or not, can suffer a massive drop in sales week on week. Our investment in truly special packaging is arresting that decline.” Extending the shelf-life is key for eOne, and, in many instances, drop off for its lenticular packaged titles can be as much as 20 per cent less than those experienced by other titles.

“It’s clear our packaging has made a true difference at consumer level,” says Mitchell. “Our own sales team also cite the fact that our ship to retail is usually enhanced by an additional 10 per cent due to our commitment to the product.”

It has won plaudits from retailers too – retailers, variously, have described the lenticulars as “unrivalled”, of “exceptional quality” and feeback from stores is equally positive.

So where next? Both Welcome To The Punch and Dark Skies are off to bright starts.

Now eOne is lining up some smart packages for Nativity 2 and Now You See Me, due in Q4…

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