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SEMA Magazine Articles & Reviews


Selling a Brand

Winner of the 2010 SEMA Show’s Best New Product Packaging Award, BubbaRope sports packaging that combines fun with functionality. The washable rope, logo, shipping box and purposeful mesh carrying bag all work harmoniously to tell consumers everything they need to know about the product and brand.

SEMA Magazine “The whole thing is branding,” said Jim Flowers, a manager in Bubba Rope’s business development team. Introduced to the consumer market in 2009, the nylon, military-spec recovery strap’s packaging took Best New Product Packaging honors at the 2010 SEMA Show.

“If you have a clear idea of what your brand is, it’s a lot easier to figure out what doesn’t fit,” Flowers said. “It all starts with an extremely clear vision of what you want to communicate with your brand.”

For its award-winning packaging, BubbaRope’s in-house team conceived a mesh carry-all bag that allows a dirry rope to be tossed in the wash. The bag sports camouflage detailing and a pocket for accessories, plus recovery instructions flavored with “Bubba-style” humor.

“Here in Florida and the southeast, Bubba is a fun name we call each other,” Flowers explained. “It’s a good thing, like a buddy or pal. So we said this is like your buddy rope and called it Bubba Rope. Once we did that, we were quickly able to develop the whole genre and packaging. For example, the character in our packaging is Jake-actually a character from a syndicated cartoon called ‘That’s Jake’ that was here in Orlando for 20 years."

Bubba Rope also worked closely with its box supplier to create a clean, highly visible cardboard box that stacks neatly on retail shelves but is also sturdy enough for weborder shipping. Sryrofoam and molded plastic packing materials were rejected in favor of plain brown paper. Box sides feature Jake and clear content labeling.

“We wanted the packaging to be really good but not overly slick and the logo to tell you exactly what the product does.” said Flowers. “The logo makes you smile. Our whole philosophy is to take our customers and product extremely seriously but not to take ourselves too seriously.”

Both BubbaRope and AMP Research were able to brainstorm initial design concepts in-house because their management teams boasted expertise from multiple marketing disciplines, including advertising and graphic design. Smaller or less experienced companies will undoubtedly rely on the many expert advertising and package design agencies throughout the United States and Canada found on the web. Referrals from other manufacturing and business associates can help take the guesswork out of choosing the right designer/supplier at the right price.

A solid relationship with a package designer or box supplier will prove vital not only for new products, but for ongoing lines as well since packaging should always keep pace with new technologies, shipping methods and marketing concepts.