Two Images Are Better than One

KDM P.O.P. creates shelf wobblers with transformative layers.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when you want to showcase a unique benefit of a new product and have only seconds to do it, two images may be better than one — provided they’re expertly designed and executed to do the job. When Cincinnati-based KDM P.O.P. Solutions Group (www.kdmpop.com) was asked to create a shelf wobbler to support the launch of Banana Boat’s new SunComfort Sunscreen, the challenge was to communicate that sand easily brushes off the person wearing the product, differentiating it from other sunscreens, at the store level.

The concept brought to KDM by Banana Boat’s design agency was for a two-layer shelf wobbler that would engage passing shoppers and allow them to discover the product’s special attribute with the touch of a finger. Although the family-owned, national retail P-O-P solutions firm has produced millions of this popular type of display item over its 45-year history, this was the first time graphics director Dan Kimmerly recalls one having involved two layers.

“The client wanted to create the appearance of there being sand on a sunbather when the two layers were together, then have the sand that was printed on the transparent top layer disappear when it was lifted,” says Kimmerly. Several prototypes were generated to provide a variety of different looks for the client to choose from. The option selected featured a four-color process photo of a sand-free woman sunbathing, printed on a white base. This was joined at the top to a clear vinyl overlay, printed with “sand” and an invitation to “LIFT to experience the benefits.”

Die-cut in a standard shape (5 x 7 inches), the assignment wouldn’t have been that out-of-the-ordinary for the firm. But having two layers posed some special production considerations. One was how thick the top layer of clear vinyl should be. “A wobbler is made of flexible plastic and designed so it can hang from a T-shaped arm that slides into a channel strip on a store shelf,” explains Kimmerly. “The air movement when someone passes by causes it to wobble. We usually use 10- or 15-mil rigid vinyl, but this was tricky because of the two layers. We wanted the wobbler to hang properly, but we didn’t want the weight to affect its behavior, so we ended up using a thinner 10-mil vinyl.”

A second major challenge was achieving the look and feel of sand on the top layer. “Multiple versions were printed to get just the right color, texture, and amount of coverage so it would look like sand instead of just a splotch of ink,” says Kimmerly.

The approach that proved successful involved printing a sand-colored CMYK mix on the second surface of the transparent top panel with an HP Indigo 5600 hybrid digital press. This was followed with a second pass, in which a textured spot clear coat was screen printed on the top surface using an M&R Patriot. The base layer was also printed with the Indigo. Artwork for both was provided by the client in Photoshop and Illustrator, although the sand required some modification to come across as realistically as possible.

Although fine-tuning the solution increased upfront time, it took only a few days to produce 5000 of the wobblers, including die-cutting, coating, printing, assembly, and adding tape to the T hanger to increase display flexibility. “Wobblers have become a P-O-P staple because they’re so effective in commanding attention, but the way this piece integrated the medium and communicated the product feature via the visual presentation added a whole new dimension to the concept,” says Kimmerly.

See other great P-O-P projects from our April/May issue:

Pop-Up Lady Project Summit
Deck the Walls, and Floors, and Elevators
Planning Paramount in Multifaceted Campaign
Have Printers, Will Travel

View more from this Screen Printing issue