“Super-sizing” may have negative connotations since the release of a certain documentary a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean everything that’s been super-sized is potentially lethal. Offering traditional form/label combinations and affixed and integrated products is a healthy way for manufacturers to expand the variety of their services and products base. Even manufacturers of integrated labels may overlook everyday uses for such products. But, as consumers, we use form/label combinations and integrated products so often, they’ve become as ubiquitous as McDonald’s signature golden arches—well, without the same level of product recognition.
First developed by Gary Stewart of Trade Printers, Phoenix, in 1980, the form/label combination is now a concept consumers encounter most often in retail or mail adventures. Considering the amount of labels, cards and forms and all of the combinations thereof, integrated and affixed products are everywhere. Online companies such as Amazon.com use form/label combinations for their purchase receipts, offering a return shipping label to their customers. Credit companies, non-profit organizations and consumer advertisers intrepidly flood mailboxes with personalized cards, letters and labels each day. Even McDonald’s sweepstakes stickers are a kind of affixed product when they’re applied to french fry containers and beverage cups. As a result, your expired library card or that greasy bag containing the remnants of a drive-through lunch might not be mere trash—everyday items might hold untapped client opportunities or offer a tangible example of combination products for customers who
are unclear about their myriad functions.
Fredericksburg, Virginia-based Newtown Labels has been producing integrated labels for five years. Gwynne Brown, sales and marketing manager of the forms manufacturing plant and mail shop, said demand for the product encouraged Newtown to offer it. “The demand for the product occurred from the growth of the laser printer market,” she explained. “Distributors wanted to be able to sell to their end-users a product that could be personalized in-house and on demand.” On the other hand, Jeff Russell, president of Major Business Systems in Hillsborough, N.C., said distributors have a low interest in combination products. “Our experience is that less than 30 percent of distributor representatives are informed enough or are willing to sell combination products, even though the majority probably have great potential within their existing client base.”