Exhibition News October 2017 - Page 40

FEATURE In the bag September’s Packaging Innovations & Luxury Packaging London proved that looks really are everything C 40 ontrary to what you might have been taught growing up, it’s not what’s inside that counts, and you can judge a book by its cover, or at least the carrier bag it came in. Now, it’s not that EN is shallow, but we all know that glossy packaging, particularly of the high-end, luxury kind, informs a consumer’s decision to purchase just as much as, if not more than, the goods within. The Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging London at Olympia more than amply proves there is a thriving market in retail packaging. As James Drake-Brockman, Artexis EasyFairs’ divisional director, packaging UK and global, confi rms, “The outer shell is so infl uential on buying behaviour – packaging is so important! What we set out to do here, for our visitors, is answer the question: how do you make beautiful packaging?” The show was launched by EasyFairs as a portfolio extension to the larger existing packaging event cluster: Empack, Packaging Innovations and Label & Print held at the NEC. Drake-Brockman explains: “At EasyFairs we pride ourselves on being close to our market. We keep our ear to the ground and talk to our friends and family network, and our audience responded: they wanted a creative side of packaging, something premium and luxury, there was nothing really in the UK in terms of something that appeals to people in marketing and design.” The fair attracts 100+ exhibitors who come mostly from the UK and Europe, but increasingly from the Far East, and buyers from retail, design and hospitality seeking strong aesthetics and new innovations in everything from glass containers for cosmetics to shredded paper for luxury hampers. “We’ll get representatives from Waitrose and Selfridges, for instance, they investigate all corners of our show maybe looking at a smaller stand, rather than stride up to a big, well-lit large exhibitor.” Visitor LB Odendaal, design and innovation October 2017 | exhibitionnews.co.uk manager, IPL Packaging, has high praise indeed for Packaging Innovations, “I’d defi nitely recommend this as one of the hottest packaging shows in the world at the moment.” Was there a particular stand out innovation this year for Drake-Brockman? He diplomatically demurs, not wanting to be partisan. “I can’t possibly choose,” He laughs. “But we did have an innovations showcase, where every exhibitor submits a product. Visitors voted for the winning innovation using their smart badge – it’s a way to let the market do the talking. And listening to the market, to our visitors, as I say, that’s a very Easyfairs thing to do.” As for EN, where we have fewer qualms about partiality, highlights during our visit were Wade Ceramics, based in the potteries, who produce bottles for perfume and alcohol brands and the Silver Crane Co. who make confectionary tins for clients such as M&S and Harrods. Both are UK-based, and on the subject of local vs global, Drake-Brockman maintains his characteristic discretion. “It’s a diffi cult challenge to strike a balance but we want to bring in the many wonderful things people are doing around the world and highlight the great innovation in the UK I think we’ve done a really good job of showcasing the best of British and International.” This year has seen many fi rsts for the show. Not only is it Drake-Brockman’s debut year with the portfolio but also the fi rst year the show has hosted the Pentawards conference. Easyfairs acquired the Pentawards last year – a natural fi t for the prestigious international design awards. Drake-Brockman agrees, “Yes, that’s an amazing partnership. It fi ts very much with EasyFairs’ vision, which is: ‘Visit the Future’; events that showcase the future of their industry and their own futures.” So far, so beautiful, but what’s next for the future of Easyfairs’ packaging portfolio? It seems next year will also be one of fi rsts… “We’ve announced the launch of Packaging Innovations New York,” Drake-Brockman tells us. “It’s a different format, has an exclusivity – it’s very content-focussed, there’s limited numbers of exhibitors – there’s an application process, for only 30 booths – and the visitors will be carefully selected. It’s exclusive, select, and we think people will like that. It’s launching September 2018.” There are other countries under consideration regards expansion plans but Drake-Brockman says they are strictly ‘tbc’ for the time being. Right now, however, he appears to have things all wrapped up. EN Packaging Innovations and Luxury Packaging London took place on 13-14 September at Olympia London