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High profile KitKat campaign has Ultimate purring with clutch of award wins

A HIGHLY successful campaign with KitKat has seen Grimsby’s Ultimate Group win FIVE industry awards. 

High profile KitKat campaign has Ultimate purring with clutch of award wins

The packaging specialist, at the forefront of digital printing, was the delivery partner behind the Nestle promotion, putting 56,000 fans’ faces on the iconic red and white wrappers. 

And it has brought home more accolades than you can count on the wafer fingers of the family favourite, winning Innovation of the Year and Flexible Package of the Year at the UK Packaging Awards as well as Best Digital Labels and Variable Data at the Digital Print Awards, Best Packaging at the FlexoTech International Print & Innovations Awards and the Multi-channel Marketing Gong at The Solutions Awards.

All have been presented at London events in the past month, recognising the £1 million campaign that launched in February.

Emma Winton, business development executive at the Europarc giant, said: “It has been incredible for us to win all these awards, it was such a big campaign and brought exposure for both ourselves and Nestle as well. They used social media to drum up excitement and it resulted in 100,000 personalised KitKats with photos and messages on them. It was quite extraordinary. 

“This was the first out our big personalised campaigns, we have done smaller projects prior, but this was really impressive.”

While a team of 15 worked on the project, it was a case of all hands on deck to meet the orders as they came through.  “The whole company pulled together to make it all happen,” she said, reflecting on the achievement. 

Ultimate was printing around 8,000 personalised chocolate bar wrappers a week during the project, with the in-house Smartflow digital workflow system connected to the HP Indigo digital presses, where two of only three in the country are operating. 

Read more: ARCHIVE RAID: Unwrapping the Kitkat - The launch of Ultimate Digital in Grimsby (March 2015)

After finding a winning code inside standard KitKat packs, consumers created their personalised wrappers online, adding an image and short message. The Smartflow system was used to process the images and text, creating the artwork to print.

“There is a lot of interest in personalisation,” Emma said. “People are buying more and more emotionally. We saw it with Coca-Cola with names, and now KitKat with photographs, it could be dog food with your dog on. It is something everyone wants to feel part of, and it becomes a celebratory gift too, for birthdays, weddings etc. 

“We have been ready for digital since 2014, and we really hit the ground running . We are now waiting for brands to catch up. It draws so much attention so ensuring the process is right is so important. You want that next big story, but it has to be right. We have the creative design team, and our own system, Smartflow, which takes all the risk, the logistical IT head ache, away from the brand.”

Ultimate is now turning over £45 million and the expectation is that further digital projects will enhance that further, alongside the continued growth of flexographic work. 

“We are proud to be able to offer such innovation in digital print to complement any brand’s current requirements and we are preparing for the next award-winning campaign!

“The developments and partnerships we have made over the last 12 to 18 months will be paramount to the growing success of Ultimate Digital meaning we can offer a full range of printed material from direct packaging, point of sale and outer packaging materials – all with the same capabilities of personalisation, augmented reality and much more! 

“The beauty is that whether it be requirements for short print runs, new product development, flexibility of design or large marketing campaigns driven by social media engagement – digital can deliver.” 

The success has gone back up the supply chain too. Ultimate is recognised as a flagship user by HP, and was a fixture of presentations at the print giant’s recent Barcelona conference, attended by some of the team. “That in itself shows what we are doing, and that what we are doing, we are doing really well,” Emma added.

As reported in the summer, HP bestowed its Inkspiration award on Ultimate for the KitKat promotion too.

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