ATLANTA – Three Clemson University packaging science students have designed a new way for people to “Share a Coke” and their concept garnered first place in the 48-Hour RePack Student Design Competition.

The students were part of 25 teams from across the United States that participated in the competition held during the NextPack 2019 Summit on the Future of Packaging at the Coca-Cola headquarters. The teams were given 48 hours to redesign the Coke Fridge Pack or the e-Commerce Variety Pack of Oreos, Ritz and Chips Ahoy. Clemson students Theresa Ciccarelli, a junior from Mt. Pleasant; Tyler Gunter, a junior from Lexington and Ryan Nielson, a senior from Charleston, won for their creative redesign of the Coke Fridge Pack.

Clemson packaging science students won a national contest with this design of a Coke Fridge Pack.

Clemson students won the 48-Hour RePack Student Design Competition with this “boombox” design of a Coca-Cola fridge pack.
Image Credit: Clemson College of Agriculture Forestry and Life Sciences

The 48-hour RePack Student Design Competition is a national package design competition created as a forum to highlight the skills and talents of tomorrow’s design professionals.

“Once the prompt was revealed on the first night, we began to brainstorm,” Gunter said. “Some things we thought about were: What about the fridge pack needs improvement? Which improvements can we implement in 48 hours? How will our improvements be judged? After a false-start idea that wouldn’t have been a winning one, we settled on the modular and customer-configurable Break and Take Pack.”

Students were urged to consider: responsible use of materials, improved functionality, creativity and originality, practicality, business design and emotional connection. The Clemson team’s concept centers around themes that have already proven successful for Coca-Cola. The students created a NEW Break and Take Pack modular 8-can fridge pack for Coke Zero that resembles a miniature boombox.

“Our team collectively decided to go with this idea because it promoted the idea of ‘Share a Coke’ which has been a phrase used by Coca-Cola for years,” Nielson said. “We wanted a special and unique way consumers could share a Coke with their friends and family.”

Graphics were created using traditional Coke red and Zero Sugar blacks. The principal display panel consists of an AM/FM tuner, and volume and selection dials. The Coke Zero Sugar logo is found in a speaker-driver shaped area. The package was created using 100-percent recyclable laminated Kraft paperboard coated with solid bleached sulphate. The design includes a fully functional zipper-style connection between two 4-packs of cans. Other features include perforations for easy access to cans.

“Coke already has a great package that has worked well for years,” Ciccarelli said. “We wanted to make an innovative design, while still keeping the basics that we liked about the old Coke package. The NEW Break and Take pack is less bulky, and is easier to handle and take on the go. It can be configured to fit in tight spaces that the old fridge-pack couldn’t.”

The break-away modular design allows people to “Share a Coke” without ever having to touch the ice-cold aluminum surface of cans. The NEW Break and Take Pack can be operated using just one hand. Two handles are incorporated into the glue-flap of each 4-pack. These handles, plus the hand-sized shape of the individual 4-packs, allows people to be able carry the pack with their hands or on their shoulders.

The students were led by Clemson packaging design associate professor Andrew Hurley. They were awarded $3,000, or $1,000 each, which they plan to use to pay for school-related expenses. A Virginia Tech team placed second and received $2,000. A team from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo placed third and won $1,000. Hurley also was keynote speaker at this year’s event.

Clemson offers one of just a few packaging science undergraduate programs in the United States. The Clemson program is part of the Food, Nutrition and Packaging Science Department and offers both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in packaging science.

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