1661881430195 Nutellapackaginghed2017

Algorithm Designed Graphics Cause Nutella Jars To Sell Out

June 7, 2017

Ferrero's release in Italy of limited-edition Nutella jar graphics designed by an algorithm caused a quick buyout frenzy. 

People love Nutella, the chocolately hazelnut spread from Ferrero. But the company's release in Italy earlier this year of a limited-edition collection of Nutella jars caused a quick buyout frenzy. Using an algorithm, the company created 7 million different packaging designs, which consumers immediately snapped up, according to reports this week. There are jars with polka dots, zigzags, stripes, splotchy shape and various other eye-catching patterns.

Ferrero probably hit the proverbial jackpot with this marketing initiative because retailers reportedly had a hard time keeping the collectible, one-of-a-kind jars in stock. Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather assisted with the special algorithm. Others like Coca-Cola have done it with cans of Diet Coke last year, and Absolut before that. The brightly printed jar designs have sold out within one month. The launch included a TV commercial, an online video and a digital activation that allowed fans to create a customized video. 

Why use an algorithm to design the jar graphics? A video about the campaign says the Nutella brand team wanted "to make each jar as unique and expressive as the Italian people." That seemed to work for Italy's grocery shoppers. The jar label has been through assorted iterations since the 1960s, with the most classic featuring a white label illustrated with piece of bread slathered with the spread alongside a glass of milk andf the bold red Nutella brand name. This version retains the logo, but eliminates everything else.

With such sell-out success, word is Ferrero will launch another labeling campaign soon in other European countries, starting with France. The one-of-a-kind jars will be easy to spot, of course.

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