Prisms are remarkable things. They reveal each individual constituent spectral colour of the invisible rainbows that combine to make visible light, taking something most of us take for granted and turning it into a technicolour light show.
It might seem hard to recreate even a glimmer of that magic in packaging. But that was the challenge we faced at Filtrona Tapes when developing our holographic tape solution.
It needed to be able to elevate a pack to something more than the sum of its parts, and be able to conceal things the brand owner may want to stay hidden. It had to be eye-catching like the colours of the rainbow. And it had to find magic in something that many take for granted.
When we succeeded in that challenge, there was really only one thing we could call our holographic tape solution – Prism.
All that glitters
It’s important to understand why we decided to create Prism – part of our Supastrip® range of tear tapes. The root of the idea stemmed from listening to what converters, brands, and consumers want from packaging. And trends show there is an increased demand for holographic and metallised content around the world.
Ultimately, this can be put down to the fact that humans like shiny things. This sounds almost too basic an explanation to be true, but humans have been chasing all that glitters for thousands of years. A study published in 2018 theorised that this stems from a primal association between shiny objects and water sources. This love of glossy, gleaming objects mean we naturally associate materials that possess these qualities as high-end and premium.
That makes metallised and holographic materials a natural fit for luxury and masstige packaging, particularly in markets that demand high-impact visual designs such as cosmetics and perfume.
This can be woven into product designs in a variety of creative ways, with the only limit being the imagination of the designer. It can guide the consumers’ eye around certain parts of the pack, helping to assist with the unboxing or just providing a more memorable experience.
However, holographic materials bring much more to the table than simple aesthetic benefits, as important as they are. There’s plenty of substance behind the style, too. That’s because holographic materials offer many security benefits that can be used to protect a brand’s image and deter counterfeiters.
This is hugely important in today’s market, as some estimates indicate as many as 10% of all branded goods may be counterfeit. The global trade in fakes is now worth $600bn every year, dwarfing many legitimate industries and around 80% of consumers are estimated to have come into contact with fake goods, whether knowingly or not.
For brands, this presents a problem. Counterfeiters have traditionally targeted luxury or masstige brands, allowing consumers to purchase what could pass as a high-end product for a fraction of the price. While it would be naïve to assume that all of these consumers do so unwittingly – as an example, a study by brand protection agency Incopro revealed that 19% of UK consumers willingly purchase fake goods – the majority of consumers are unwilling participants in the counterfeit trade. In other words, they are victims.
This can damage a brand’s reputation significantly. It breeds a natural distrust among consumers, and may make them think twice about purchasing from a company that they know is a target for counterfeiters. This issue is most severe among Gen Z consumers – now on the brink of becoming the world’s leading spending power – as 48% of Gen Z shoppers say they have lost trust in a brand after buying a counterfeit, while 27% demand that brands take more effective action on the issue.
Holographic materials can play an important role in the fight against fakes. They have acted as seals of authenticity for decades, as they present an extra layer of manufacturing complexity that many criminals cannot match. As technology on both sides of this fight has advanced over the years, manufacturers have developed more complex holograms to stay on step ahead of the forgeries. Elevating holograms with techniques like microtext printing, serialisation, and void release substrates – where a peelable holographic material leaves behind traces of foil on the pack after removal – can all prove a product’s authenticity. And combining these features with a tear tape – as we have done with Prism – adds layers to your defence without compromising the goal of your packaging design.
Adding more locks to your safe
Supastrip® Prism is a holographic tear tape, designed to combine the aesthetic and security benefits of holograms with the functionality of an easy opening system. It’s available in four formats – the unprinted Prism, the printed Prism Plus, the selectively metallised Prism Ultra, and the maximum security Prism Unique, which features unique holographic designs.
As a holographic tape, the Prism collection can offer multiple layers of security. As counterfeiters become more sophisticated in their methods, brands should proactively seek to layer authentication features on their packaging. Each authentication feature is like a lock on a safe. A single lock is somewhat effective but can be overcome as counterfeiters can focus all their attention on cracking it. When multiple locks are used, producing a convincing fake becomes exponentially more complex. It may still be possible that a forger could crack every lock at once, but each one takes a significant amount of time and money to unlock. As counterfeiters, like most criminals, are opportunistic, it is more likely that they will simply move on to an easier target.
The tape itself represents one layer of security, as it acts as tamper evidence. The holographic element acts as a second layer of overt security. This can be complemented with further layers of overt and covert security, such as embedding microtext or nanoimages, image switches, and more. One covert layer of security print that can be added is a taggant, which usually consist of materials that light up when hit with infrared light. Our Patron® Taggant system goes one step further, as it can only be detected by a bespoke device designed specifically for the Patron system.
Just like a beam of light, there is a lot about tear tapes that many people simply take for granted without realising. Sometimes, it takes a Prism to reveal everything that it truly offers.