No Limits: The Art of Innovation (Review)

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Illustration/Key visual by Lidia Lukianova, SF Bay Area
Text/editorial work by Andreas Weber, Value Communication AG

Believe it or not: We made it! It took almost 20 years. But now we touched a historical momentum. For the very first time, an international conference ended successful and highly effective to demonstrate the fully impact of state-of-the-art digital printing technologies on all dimension of creative communication services. 

What happened: HP Graphic Arts and GWA as Europe’s leading association of communication agencies showcased in Barcelona the road to sustainable innovation. By invitation only, 70+ executives and creatives from eight european countries joined the ”No Limits: The Art of Innovation“–tour to Barcelona. A range of first class speakers presented first class case studies and shared their insights and knowledge.

The approach: HP and GWA shared with us how technology, creativity and marketing brains fuse together to drive the art of innovation. The only limit: Attendee’s imagination!

The status quo: HP is committed to innovating every day. With the broadest portfolio of graphic solutions, HP delivers print innovation in all aspects of print, from postage stamps to building wraps. Printing digitally both drives production efficiency with added benefits for the environment and allows us to customize content and interact with other digital medias. Digital print means flexibility of content; flexibility of content means relevance; relevance means results. There are endless possibilities for brands to better connect with consumers where physical and digital worlds meet.

”The Art of Innovation day is about sharing ideas and stimulating innovation. Which is why we brought you together with industry leaders who are actually making things happen“, said Simon Addinall, HP GSB EMEA’s market development manager, who planned and managed the event.


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The challenge: Technology and knowledge has never changed faster than it is today. GWA therefore developed the online education program, Need for Brains. Experts and technology leaders like HP share their knowledge with Need for Brains scholars and present innovations in planning, programming and producing advertising material. Knowing the technological changes and using them for their clients ́ business will be the major competitive advantage for advertising agencies. 

The main results: In fact, the future of communication campaigns will be hybrid, always combining Social Media and Digital Print! — Alistair Campbell, Executive Creative Director at Agency Republic, London, hit the point by answering Andreas Weber’s question ”Is what we talked about today already mainstream?“. Alistair stated: ”No, not yet. But it will be quite soon!“ — By the way: Alistair is smart enough to know what he is talking about. Agency Republic was awarded five times in series as the „Social Media Agency of the Year“ in the UK.


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Case study: How to innovate a global brand

  • Share a Coca-Cola, Share the Best Summer Ever!
  • By Marit Kroon, Marketing Manager Central and Southern Europe, Coca-Cola

This summer will be unforgettable for millions of Coca-Cola fans in Europe as Coca-Cola invites consumers to engage with the brand in a new, exciting and very personal way. For the first time in Europe, we are replacing our iconic “Coca-Cola” script with 150 of the most popular consumer names in each market.

The idea is brought to life by challenging several rules and stereotypes in marketing, soft drinks, packaging and digital print industries. Over one billion cans and bottles of Coca- Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, and Coca-Cola light — including multi-packs — will carry the names, in a feat of system-wide logistics and hi-tech product personalisation.

In Europe it actually means covering over 30 markets with over 40 languages and culture groups. We have created over 10,000 artworks, featuring over 3,000 different names. For those who can’t find their names on a pack, the “Share a Coke” campaign is also brought to life online, where personalized virtual Coca-Cola cans can be created and shared with friends. Consumers will also be able to visit roadshows where they can use a customization kiosk to print their own name on a can. Using the power of people’s names and the joy of sharing in a playful and social way, the campaign inspires people to join new and existing friends, enjoying a “Coke moment” by sharing one together.

Launching the program with these amazing labels and strong marketing support after 18 months of hard work makes us feel very proud about changing the mind-set of hundreds of marketing, finance and packaging specialists, and challenging our suppliers to innovate together with us.

“Innovation is creativity that generates value. It is a mind-set driven by curiosity, crazy ideas and business skills that makes it all happen. Innovation is nota program that can be switched on and off.”

Marit Kroon, Marketing Manager Central & Southern Europe, Coca-Cola

NOTE: Please read as well our Value Marketing Check for additional information.

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Case study: How to enrich agencies creative approach:
All Hail the Digital Color Queen

This is the story of how HP Indigo technology enabled Pantone to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with Her Majesty the Queen — by Blake Waters & Will Thacker, Creatives at Leo Burnett, London

Having a fun idea is only half the battle; realizing it is always the most difficult part. After sitting on one of their fun ideas for around two years – making a Pantone Swatch Book of the Queen, known for always wearing the color blue – Leo Burnett creative duo Will Thacker and Blake Waters seized their chance to make it real: The Queen’s Jubilee. Despite a few bumps along the way, ranging from seeking Buckingham Palace’s approval to meeting some ultra-tight deadlines, they were able to do just that – with a little help from HP digital printers.

See video documentation as well.

“Looking at what we have. And imagining what we could have. Thinking this is good. But it could be better. Squinting your eyes and seeing things that others don‘t. Turning the world sideways just so you can look at life from a different angle. That‘s innovation.”

Blake Waters, Creative, Leo Burnett

“Changing something for the better. The everlasting expedition for new ways to look, touch, even experience something. Innovation has the power to change opinions, and even lives.”

Will Thacker, Creative, Leo Burnett

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Case study: How to change agencies behavior:
Sustainable Innovations in the Field of Production

By Steffen Gentis, Chief Production Officer, BBDO Germany

We are the lucky ones who get to experience the very brief and fortunate episode in human history known as the fossil-fuel economy. In the near future oil and energy supplies will not meet demand, which makes this is an opportunity for those who can change early.

But our assumptions often stand in the way of achieving such sustainable innovation. The way to sustainable innovation is by actually measuring – not just assuming. The interesting insight is all the other gre- at stuff that comes along with sustainable change.

“Innovation is about exploring ideas and inventing ways of adding value
in a better and sustainable manner. Innovation is an on-going process that demands initiative, ideas and an open attitude to change.“

Steffen Gentis, Chief Production Officer, BBDO Germany

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Case study: How to change agencies business model and strategy:
How Integration of Targeted Direct Mail WORKS

Intuitive Relevancy and Other Animals: Leveraging Psychology for Direct Marketing — by Richard Perry, Managing Partner, Founded

Personalisation is one thing, relevancy is everything. How we use consumer insight and buyer behaviour to guide consumers to purchase is vital in driving consumer transactions. Combining online and offline techniques allows marketers to create not only better experiences, but also much better results.

We showed you a recent campaign and ROI details from a ZipCar acquisition campaign. ZipCar is an hourly car club that was purchased by Avis for $500 million in January 2013.

“Innovation is a cultural outcome, not just a creative one.“

Richard Perry, Managing Partner, Founded

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Case study: How to lead agencies to hybrid communication (Social Media & Print)

The Power of Personalized Print in Social Media
By Alistair Campbell, Executive Creative Director, Agency Republic

While the rise of digital technology and social media may not have instantly seemed like an opportunity for the world of print, the ability to create one-off, personalized, printed products with very short lead times has opened up a whole new area of engagement for both digital agencies and printers alike. Doing so rewards fans of brands by putting something unique and tangible into their hands. And takes digital and social media far beyond the screen.

Best-in-class case: Nivea. Users could create their own wrapping paper to use Nivea products as a gift. See: video documentation as well.

“Innovation is being prepared to take a leap of faith.“

Alistair Campbell, Executive Creative Director, Agency Republic

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Case study: How to innovate print

No Limits: The Art of Premium Printing
By Tatjana Müksch, Marketing & Christopher C. Mickelthwate, CEO, dygy gmbH, Frankfurt am Main/Germany

One of the major changes the commercial print industry is currently facing stems from the evaluation of customer data and cross-media applications. Targeted, individualized and multilingual print runs of up to 100,000 are becoming more and more standard for medium-sized businesses and brands.

To meet their markets’ demands, digital processes are already the norm in the mass-mailing and photo-book print industries but premium and luxury brands must be persuaded to use digital print techniques.

Many premium brands desire and need to offer outstanding, highly-differentiated products. HP Indigo technology, with various possibilities of substrate choice and ennobling capabilities, allows them to combine traditional quality and innovation — giving them that „distinct taste“ the market longs for today. Transforming intangible customer data — gathered at diverse touch points of current premium brands — into tangible, individualized, high-quality prints is complex, fast and fascinating.

Therefore future commercial printers must become more of a consultant than a pure technician, functioning as a partner to agencies, marketers and producers. The impact of interdisciplinary teamwork within the planning and printing process does, by all means, result in great applications and innovative concepts.

“Traditionally, any innovation starts with a change of perspective. In the information era innovation is merely a technical term. Innovation takes place where engaged people use even the flimsiest, uncharted space of freedom they have to make new perspectives visible.“

Tatjana Müksch, Marketing, dygy gmbh

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Case studies by HP EMEA Graphic Arts Experience Center

HP shares unique applications from around the world, including L’Oréal, Heineken and Kimberly Clarke. — by Marcelo Akierman, HP

L’Oréal case study

“No tangles” is an important promise in the children’s hair care category. But to impart L’Oréal Kids’ shampoos with even more must-have appeal, the company wanted to redesign its labels in North America.

Partnering with Disney, L’Oréal produced limited edition, shrink-wrapped bottles with themes of newly released children’s movies. The only snarls in the project were ensuring the label colors and quality were top-notch, which flexible digital printing made possible. HP Indigo was the natural choice.

The Challenge

Provide L’Oréal Kids’ shampoo labels that stay up-to-date with the biggest children blockbusters. And do it quickly enough to meet the shelves in time and maintain the characters’ original colors.

The Strategy

L’Oréal turned to Sancoa International Company L.P. in Lumberton, NJ and its HP Indigo digital presses. HP digital presses are ideal for unique production demands.

The Results

“We thought digital would be too expensive for our long run lengths,” a L’Oréal representative said. “While there was a per unit price increase, when we did a cost/pricing analysis, the total system cost was better than traditional processes. What’s more, we got the quality we needed, and our lead time was cut dramatically, so we achieved faster delivery times to market.”

To leverage the possibilities of digital printing, L’Oréal extended the line to include a series of products with Car Story and Madagascar characters. They are also using a multi-channel marketing approach to boost interest in the shampoos. And they have set up a special website ( where children can register for a sweepstakes and see a trailer from Toy Story.

“Innovation is about challenging the status quo to get a WOW effect out of it.”

Marcelo Akierman, HP

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Case studies by HP EMEA Graphic Arts Experience Center

No Limits: The Art of Sign and Display

HP presents graphic solutions power to unleash creativity and relevance in sign and display — with new opportunities and innovations for cutting-edge localized campaigns — by Simon Addinall, HP

The Challenge

– Connect with French drivers.
– Communicate benefits of Smart car’s

subcompact size.
– Reflect the spirit of the car: fun.
– Execute the campaign in 15 days.

The Strategy

– Create a series of outdoor versioned bus shelter signs that communicate with humor the problems related to the city, neighborhood or street in which they are displayed.

– By using an online app & SoMe outreach, enlist the community to contribute content for these versioned messages.

The Results

– Over 8,500 individualized posters in 10 bold colors placed in 26 cities

– Hundreds of press articles & TV appearances

– Expanded to include car wraps, retail window decals, print ads and user- generated content from a Facebook application

  • Numerous accolades for the campaign — Increased traffic at showrooms and on website

“Our customers never stop innovating. Neither do we.”

Simon Addinall, HP

Further Information:

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  1. We got a great comment/statement by Frank Beinhold:

    “The ”No Limits —The Art of Innovation“ event hosted by HP in Barcelona delivered impressive results:

    1. A company like HP has now arrived at the actual end users perception for innovative graphic arts applications. Peer-to-peer works best, HP didn‘t showed only technical products, but brought together top creatives, industrial customers/brand owners and service providers as well.

    2. Top speakers got invited from leading European creative hotspots like London and Düsseldorf to pride themselves to show their creative outcome using fantastic innovative ways and production methods.

    3. A first class events like this you could meet valuable colleagues and experts for technology, creation, film, digital and print (again peer-to-peer).

    4. The 1 or 2 days investment of attendees time delivered the opportunity to re-invent what we do and to drive back home again with an added value. This trail offers enough room for everyone!”

    Frank Beinhold
    Germany‘s leading agency production expert,
    Former Spokesperson of the GWA Media Production Forum

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