People love Nutella, the chocolately hazelnut spread from Ferrero. But the company’s release in Italy earlier this year of a limited-edition collection of Nutella jars caused a quick buyout frenzy. Using an algorithm, the company created 7 million different packaging designs, which consumers immediately snapped up, according to reports this week. There are jars with polka dots, zigzags, stripes, splotchy shape and various other eye-catching patterns.
Ferrero probably hit the proverbial jackpot with this marketing initiative because retailers reportedly had a hard time keeping the collectible, one-of-a-kind jars in stock. Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather assisted with the special algorithm. Others like Coca-Cola have done it with cans of Diet Coke last year, and Absolut before that. The brightly printed jar designs have sold out within one month. The launch included a TV commercial, an online video and a digital activation that allowed fans to create a customized video.
Why use an algorithm to design the jar graphics? A video about the campaign says the Nutella brand team wanted « to make each jar as unique and expressive as the Italian people. » That seemed to work for Italy’s grocery shoppers. The jar label has been through assorted iterations since the 1960s, with the most classic featuring a white label illustrated with piece of bread slathered with the spread alongside a glass of milk andf the bold red Nutella brand name. This version retains the logo, but eliminates everything else.
With such sell-out success, word is Ferrero will launch another labeling campaign soon in other European countries, starting with France. The one-of-a-kind jars will be easy to spot, of course.