Heart of Glass: Owens-Illinois Sees Glass as Life

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Can a global marketing campaign turn a packaging material that most people take for granted into something that stands out — indeed, don’t even “see” but see through?

Owens-Illinois intends to find out.

O-I, the world’s largest glass container manufacturer, has been making iconic glass containers since 1903, counting among its clients Anheuser-Busch InBev, Coca-Cola, Heinz, and PepsiCo.

The company has just launched a global marketing push with a new logo and tagline “Glass Is Life,” all highlighted on a new website as the anchor of an integrated campaign.

The media plan includes print ads (in 12 countries and seven languages) and supported by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, where inspirational interviews play up the importance of glass.[more]

The campaign videos include environmentalist and documentary filmmaker Celine Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques Cousteau, and Stefano Agostini, Chairman and CEO of San Pellegrino.

Cousteau (watch above) says, “If you’re thinking about your health, if you’re thinking about the environment, glass is the better choice.” Agostino, below, says the glass bottle is part of an “iconic brand that is San Pellegrino — green bottle, blue label, red star, this is the brand.”

While consumers who see the campaign will be a bonus, the real target is business leaders. “We aim to influence the food and beverage industry’s packaging decisions by showing the power of glass,” said Al Stroucken, Chairman and CEO of O-I. “As the leading maker of the purest and most sustainable packaging, O-I is excited to spearhead a movement that demonstrates the unique attributes of glass packaging and brings brands back into glass.”

The timing could be ideal, as consumers and manufacturers alike consider the impact of plastic packaging on the environment. O-I’s research indicates that, as recently as April 2011, 70% of U.S. consumers said they would choose glass if they could purchase their favorite food or beverage in any container. In addition, 85 percent said food and beverages taste better when packaged in glass containers, and 90 percent agreed with the statement that glass is the healthiest packaging available because it does not leach into the product.

A global study commissioned by O-I in November 2008 found similar results. While only about 10 percent of foods are packaged in glass, 91 percent of consumers worldwide said they prefer glass packaging.

ErasmoSchutzer, VP and CMO for O-I, said, “The thought leaders featured in O-I’s ‘Glass Is Life’ campaign are instrumental in helping us launch a more aggressive marketing strategy. Together we’ll show how glass preserves flavor, maintains health, enhances quality, protects the environment and builds brands.”

Evelyn Neill, co-executive creative director at Doremus, the Omnicom-owned agency that created the campaign, told Marketing Daily, “We’re hoping the digital and social presence will begin to drive some consumer visibility in hopes that one day there might be a consumer push.”

Neill said while the campaign does not promote Owens-Illinois directly, any campaign that benefits glass will benefit the company, since O-I controls more than 50% of the global glass packaging market.

The campaign’s key messaging about glass is crystal clear:

It delivers true taste. Foods and liquids packaged in glass remain themselves.

It is healthy. Glass comes from nature.

It has sustainability. Glass is 100% recyclable and safe for oceans.

It has quality, elevating the brands it contains. 

It has versatility. Glass can be reused. It can also move from microwave to table to fridge.

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