The unveiling of two prototype paper beer bottles by Carlsberg last week marked the Danish brewer’s most ambitious innovation in sustainable packaging so far, but even the simpler Snap Packs, using glue rather than plastic rings to hold beer cans together, are altering how it delivers its marketing.

Introducing the Green Fibre Bottle, Myriam Shingleton, vice president of group development at Carlsberg Group, said the prototypes were “an important step towards realising our ultimate ambition of bringing this breakthrough to market”. But she added there were some technical challenges still to be overcome.

The earlier Snap Pack innovation, part of the wider programme Carlsberg has implemented with regards to sustainability, was three years in the making.

“We’ve looked to minimise packaging as much as possible,” said Pete Statham, sustainability manager at Carlsberg UK, in an interview with WARC.

“We’ve not just switched to an alternative – we’re trying to design the problem out completely, rather than just switching.”

But this approach has to be complemented with the education of both buyers and consumers, added Alastair Porter, senior brand manager at Carlsberg UK.

“We have to communicate why it’s better,” he said in a interview with WARC. (For more details, read the interview with Alastair and Pete here: How Carlsberg Beer’s ‘Snap Pack’ Solved A Sustainable Packaging Challenge.)

“Then importantly, we have to show how it’s much more of an experience – how they can actually enjoy it,” he said: the novelty of the Snap Pack innovation has to add to the brand experience for consumers, not distract from it.

“A lot of marketing is quite emotional, and this is obviously a functional message,” he acknowledged. “That’s the first thing: how do you engage with the functional message when we’re a brand about sociability and fun and things like that.”

The answer is smart targeting with simple, but effective creative.

“The important thing for us has been about being contextual, finding the audience that really wants to learn about this and really is interested in this, first and foremost. They’re ready for the message, and they want to engage with it.”

Sourced from WARC, The Drinks Business