Specialty inks on packaging for beer, sodas and candy that are currently popular among consumers, are now feasible for fountain cups as a result of Chromatic Technologies’ (CTI’s) invention of solvent-specialty inks. CTI (Colorado Springs, Colorado) has invented a new suite of colour-change technologies using solvent inks – including thermochromic (temperature-activated), photochromic (sunlight-activated), glow-in-the-dark and reveal technology (where a message is revealed only after product consumption). Previously, solvent-ink printers were forced to use water-based inks that slowed down manufacturing operations. The new solvent-based specialty inks eliminate these time-consuming operational issues.
CTI’s consumer research also found that the colour-change technology is a tool for brands to drive content on their social media platforms. “When brands do a great job of creating ‘wow’ experiences on their packaging, consumers share that story with their friends on social media. This quickly results in increased sales as friends try the new technology and share their experiences,” CTI said.
“Consumers have their phone in their right hand and a Starbucks, Coke or Coors Light in their left hand,” said Patrick Edson, former VP of Consumer Insights for Coors Brewing Company, and since 2012, the Chief Marketing Officer for CTI. “In brand mapping exercises, we call this challenge ‘getting the right hand to talk to the left hand.’ If you can create an experience or start a story with your product in the consumer’s left hand, they in turn will share that experience on their phone in the right hand. Brands realize that colour-change technology is much more than just creating an experience on a cup – it’s a new form of content for digital marketing,” Edson pointed out.
Lyle Small, Founder of CTI, added: “Colour-change technology is now affordable for cup printers – and they offer a tremendous innovation tool for printers to help drive new margins for their customers in quick-serve restaurants and convenience stores.” For example, for over a decade, brands such as Coors Light have used thermochromic inks to turn their mountains blue to deliver on the promise of Rocky Mountain Cold Refreshment. Coca-Cola ensured a cold promise for 7-Eleven consumers with its “Ice Cube” 16-oz. can. Cheetos used photochromic technology in Mexico for their “Where’s Chester?” promotion on chip bags. And Oreo supported the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with Glow-in-the-Dark packaging.