Plastic Products Prevail in Changing Markets
Good old plastic is being shaped into hot new products for technically oriented business solutions
To young Benjamin Braddock in the 1967 movie The Graduate, the word "plastics" suggested a terribly depressing future. But today, that classic career advice could never serve to epitomize unimaginable drudgery. Plastics, it seems, offer a perfect complement to technology, with plastic products taking on exciting new shapes and designs to satisfy ever-evolving applications.
Consider phone and gift cards. Mike Lettmann, sales associate for Xtreme Graphics/Travel Tags, Inver Grove Heights, Minn., sees no signs of these markets slowing down. "Because phone cards tend to be cheaper, many people are abandoning long distance carriers altogether," Lettmann said. "And issuing gift cards instead of gift certificates eliminates the option of cash-back change, which customers can spend elsewhere. The balance stays on the gift card, encouraging customers to return to the store."
Joe Street, regional sales manager for Fort Scott, Kansas-based Ward/Kraft, pointed out that gift cards, also referred to as "stored-value" cards, help to eliminate fraud, since they have no value until activated by an authorized employee. Phone and gift cards also function as wallet-sized billboards, featuring innovative designs that lend an eye-catching, aesthetic appeal.
At Xtreme Graphics/Travel Tags for instance, lenticular imparts a high-tech, edgy look that's popular with consumers today. Said Lettmann, "Lenticular animates plastic products by creating depth, 3-D effects and full- or two-phase motion, so when applied to VHS and DVD cases, for example, it creates products that move on the shelves, as opposed to static images."
The company is currently working on lenticular cups and gift cards. "The possibilities are endless," he added, noting that although lenticular increases a product's cost, the added value is designed to boost customers' overall profitability.
Some customers may not be familiar with lenticular—or may recall an unsophisticated process prevalent 30 years ago, which lacked in graphic quality and was prone to ghosting effects—so Lettmann suggested using actual samples to communicate its visual impact.