Time to get fruity



With the onset of summer the latest range of back-to-school (BTS) products are beginning to hit the shelves. This year more than ever, manufacturers are keen to feed off consumers’ tastes and have come up with some truly impressive and innovative products to catch the eye in the classroom — with a healthy knock-on effect on the office market.


Right up there with the best of them is Esselte, which has launched its "mouth-watering" Tropicana range aimed at "predominantly female" 13 to 17-year-olds.


The limited edition range of "fruity and intense" products follows research undertaken by trend forecasting agency Peclers Paris, which predicted that hot, bright colours would replace last year’s soft pastels.


Esselte’s new range includes strawberry crush and lime burst accompanied with the tag "taste of summer". Students keen on the idea can also download a wallpaper, ring tone and games for their mobile phone.


"We think it’s important to be in the hearts and minds of our audience," said Barry McCool, Esselte’s European VP of marketing. "And this is a very discerning audience that’s brand-driven and sassy. A quick look in any playground in Europe will show how ubiquitous the mobile phone has become. But it’s not just for staying in touch, it’s a key marketing tool to reach and communicate with this audience."


This fashion-conscious approach is not just limited to the classroom. Adults too are keen on the effort taken by manufacturers. Smead is mixing the office with the catwalk with its latest range using designs from top Finish fashion house Marimekko. The distinctive flower designs are synonymous with celebrities like Jackie Kennedy, whose dress by the celebrated designer is in part credited with her then husband’s election to the White House.


"They are designed by a top fashion label which has recently won World’s Best Fashion Designer in a competition in Italy," said Edouard André-Hessig, Smead’s marketing director for Europe. "We’ve got the whole back-to-school range, from rock and roll for young boys to flowers for girls and birds for younger children. It’s an ideal partnership with Marimekko — two long-established companies and both women-owned teaming-up to offer these products. We’ve been doing this in the Nordic countries and it’s been so successful we’ve decided to roll it out across the rest of the world."


As part of the campaign to attract media attention to these high-end products, Smead sent media packs with flowers to consumer magazines and media channels — with impressive results. To date, products have been featured in 20 design magazines and will appear in 20 more by the end of the year.


"It’s a high-quality product above the usual pricing, but people are aware of this and appreciate the quality, so they are willing to pay more," said André-Hessig.


Ignoring the age difference (no doubt the crossover between the two will be significant), both Esselte and Smead’s new ranges are following concepts which heavily recognise female consumers — a target audience the industry has only recently woken up to as an important and powerful consumer channel.