Static Clings are Working Overtime
More than just window dressing, dynamic packaging concepts are heating up static cling sales.
Static clings have long been prized for their effectiveness as point-of-purchase aids, particularly by those in the retail, automotive and fast-food industries. But if distributors want to increase sales of static cling products, they would do well to employee the old sizzling steak concept.
For as Mike Stoeck, director of marketing and customer service for New Century, Kansas-based Stouse, pointed out, "Aside from the actual print job, there isn't much that can be done to alter static clings, but there are some exciting new vehicles for marketing the products which are proving to be quite successful."
Stouse is helping distributors sell the sizzle through creative packaging concepts involving the red-hot direct mail and promotions markets, with applications to satisfy customer needs in a variety of businesses.
For instance, Stouse has designed complete marketing packages for the restaurant industry featuring tri-fold, menu-style brochures, a static cling, coupons and a magnet. Large, 12x18˝ static clings are being incorporated into mailers designed to help distributors make inroads with automotive dealerships, and static clings proclaiming a candidate's message are included in mailings designed to get the vote out.
"Static clings make great marketing tools. They're perfect in target mailings for zoos, the Special Olympics, or any other organization seeking donations," said Stoeck. "It's a neat, gimmicky way to engage the recipients and have them interact with the mailing by pealing off the backing and displaying the product."
Besides being packaged along with other materials, Stoeck reported that static clings can hold their own as effective mailers.
"For example," he continued, "we created a 4x6˝ static cling post card mailer for the Boy Scouts of America using a heavy-weight liner. Not only does the durable liner accommodate additional printed messages, but the design eliminates the need for envelopes."
This, of course, cuts costs for materials and postage. And particularly with large mailings, the savings are significant "When dealing with groups like the Boy Scouts, you're talking about several hundreds of thousands of pieces," observed Stoeck. "The same would be true of post card mailers sent to members of the National Rifle Association (NRA) bearing the message 'We are NRA and we vote' or if colleges and universities were doing mailings to alumni."
However, Stoeck noted that because the static cling is technically an attachment, post offices throughout the U.S. vary as to whether the static cling can go through at a post card or letter weight. He suggested that distributors work with local mailing house to check their policy.
Also, Stoeck recommended taking samples to make sure it can run through the pre-sort equipment properly. "Especially if the product has been stored in a warehouse for awhile without proper humidity control, the potential for jamming can increase," he added.
From a 42x64˝ four-color promotional piece in an Arby's window to a 1⁄2˝ diameter specification notice on a pair of sunglasses, the convenience and versatility of static clings can benefit any industry. And Stoeck noted that applications exist in business some distributors may not typically associate with static cling sales.
"I've had distributors at trade shows tell me that they specialize in serving the banking industry and have no need for static clings," he said. Stoeck is quick to remind them that static clings are a perfect vehicle for advertising lower interest rates and other bank customer services. "Don't be afraid to ask," he encouraged, "it just may save that customer a trip to the local sign shop or quick printer."
In some cases static clings even do double duty. "A window glass manufacturer using a static cling warning label on its products is benefiting from logo reinforcement throughout the duration of the building construction project," observed Stoeck.
As with any product, ensuring customer satisfaction with static clings begins with fully understanding the customer's objective. Rachael Gooch, customer service representative for Emerald City Labels, Redmond, Wash., cautioned that how the product will be used will determine the direction of the printing, the type of ink to be used and whether the product should be delivered to the customer on rolls or as singles.
"When taking an order, the question of right-reading or wrong reading is very important," said Gooch. She pointed out that a static cling for a merchant's window meant to attract passing motorists and pedestrians obviously needs to be readable from the outside. Therefore, wrong reading or backwards printing is indicated. And so is a clear substrate—white static cling material can only be used when right reading is required.
With wrong reading, Gooch explained that the manufacturer will back up the printed areas with white ink to allow for a true color, while those areas not printed will remain clear.
The duration of the application will determine whether a screen or UV flexo ink is to be used to print the static cling.
"Durable, UV-cured screen inks are used for long term and outdoor applications, like the double-face clings an establishment has posted on the front door or window indicating which credit cards it accepts," said Stoeck."The customer doesn't have to worry about colors fading in 2 or 3 years.
"Flexo inks are less expensive than screen inks," he continued, "and are used when color and longevity are not an issue, as in the case of an oil change sticker." Gooch added that with flexo inks, applying a UV varnish—counted as an extra color—provides a nice gloss finish and really helps to make colors pop.
She also noted that in some cases the static clings will be variable imaged, which means adding a pin feed and laying down a patch of ink so new ink from the imprinter will adhere. Unless specified, Gooch said it is standard procedure at Emerald City Labels to send the product out on rolls.
Stoeck explained that a roll would be convenient for a small oil changing station where it could be kept in a convenient location to give the mechanics quick and easy access. "However, if it's for a liquor store promotion, each location would only need one or two individually cut static clings for the windows," he continued.
And while they work great on glass, Gooch has some customers who intend to use the products on plastic surfaces. "Testing is required with plastic surfaces to make sure it will adhere properly," she advised. "If it doesn't, we may need to go with a clear label material and an adhesive."
And since static clings cost more than adhesive stickers, Gooch added that choosing to go this route is always an option should price becomes a serious issue.
By Maggie DeWitt