Plastic Card Services was awarded the Cineworld Unlimited card and mailing scheme contract in 2016 to coincide with the scheme’s pack refresh.
Recognised as a market leader in innovation, Cineworld prides itself on providing customers with an exciting and immersive cinema experience, from new and refurbished venues to the truly revolutionary 4DX cinematic experience that stimulates all five senses, they want each and every customer to feel excited about their visit even before they walk through the doors.
As successful as the existing Unlimited scheme was, the presentation of the pack just didn’t align itself with this innovative ethos so Cineworld took the decision to refresh the mailing pack to a more vibrant and premium offering.
The existing mailing pack consisted of nine different versions which offered little brand continuity, and being issued on a standard A4 format on low quality stock certainly did not portray the premium offering that customers were signing up for. So the brief to Plastic Card Services was to refresh the mailing pack with an exciting and unusual format that would grab attention when they landed on the doorstep whilst at the same time complimenting the existing striking and vibrant design of the cards.
As the cards link to a paid monthly membership scheme it was essential they contain different security features including an encoded hico magnetic stripe, embossing with expiry date as well as Photo ID personalisation and a barcode to the reverse.
Meeting the challenge
Plastic Card Services put forward the suggestion of an unusual square format, an adaption of the popular 6pp DL loyalty format which has a starting point of A4. This would then be stretched to 150x150mm per page panel in order to provide Cineworld with the space to accommodate their creative and content.
Technical experts at Plastic Card Services worked closely with the design team at Cineworld to ensure the newly designed pack components consisting of card, carriers and envelopes were machine compatible through a series of rigorous tests on the Canon Image Press 1135 and Smart 70 thermal printing machines (which were built around the job specification), the Kirk Rudy match/attach systems and the Kalmar enclosing lines.
The overall width of the carrier at 448mm posed a challenge for the laser personalisation and attachment lines as the card needed to be mounted in the middle section of the form with the outer panels folded correctly over to secure the glued card in the middle. This was overcome by a series of machine adjustments to accommodate the wide format, along with the use of two in-line plough folding units. Lastly, enclosing the items in an envelope completes the secure transit of cards to customers.
Each of the three Smart 70 machines was built around the job specification with 500 input/output hopper and integrated flip over unit for duplex, high quality and high speed full colour print onto the base plastic card with a bespoke protective overlay. The cards are embossed using the latest Datacard MX2000 equipment and attached to 100% accuracy on the Kirk Rudy which utilises Lake Image match verification systems.
The cards consist of two designs red and black (red being the standard membership and black the premium membership) and incorporate a black high-coercivity mag stripe and matt lamination with spot gloss UV to the face. The generic cards are printed on a KBA Genius 52UV Waterless litho press which offers exceptional print quality whilst reducing emissions of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere supporting Cineworld’s environmental policy. Once the generic cards are printed and finished they are held in stock at Plastic Card Services awaiting ongoing personalisation and fulfilment.
Data arrives via SFTP to Plastic Card Services daily from Cineworld over a total of eight pack types. The pack types are divided up into Red and Black cards covering the UK, ROI and remakes and are processed at a rate of approximately 7,000 per week and run on a daily basis through the various personalisation and fulfilment systems.
In order to apply the required security features on the cards, there is a variety of personalisation processes involved. Firstly, the reverse of the base stock cards are personalised with a thermal Photo ID image and unique barcode, the magnetic stripe is also encoded at this point. The cards are then moved to an embossing system which reads the magnetic stripe verifying the correct card and the associated data (name, membership number and expiry date) and then embosses the corresponding information to the face of the card.
Once the personalised cards are ready for fulfilment, the accompanying carriers are duplex laser personalised for either the red or black card pack types or in the case of remakes an A4 letter. The cards are then glued with a Robotech hot melt easy peel glue system to the inside centre page using 100% accuracy camera match and attach technology on the Kirk Rudy with Lake Image match verification. The attaching lines are fitted with a double plough fold mechanism which folds the item to its finished size 150mm x 150mm. Then finally the card and carrier are enclosed into the windowed envelope and sealed using Kalmar swing arm enclosing lines before being released to the postal provider each week.
Plastic Card Services undertook a full review of the Unlimited mailing pack prior to commencement of the contract to look at ways to not only improve the appearance, but to also maximise efficiencies, this included the decision for the base carrier stock to be printed 2up and then guillotined to singles for card attachment once lasering is completed. On top of this Plastic Card Services reviewed the postal options and put forward the suggestion to change from standard Royal Mail 2nd class to OnePost which has resulted in a saving of around £17,000 within the first year.
Despite the many complex individual features of the mailing pack, due to the careful planning and execution it also manages to be incredibly efficient. To date Plastic Card Services have successfully processed over 300,000 packs, which will rise to 375,000 by the end of the first year and with Cineworld planning further openings this figure is set to rise even further into 2017 and beyond!
Rod Mcleod, head of commercial UK for Cineworld has commented “The resulting pack is one which Cineworld are incredibly happy with. Not only does it convey the excitement of the brand to the customer but it engages them as soon as it hits the doormat through its clever use of design and cool styling. We have had direct feedback from customers about how impressed they are with the packs. Plastic Card Services managed to bring the expertise and technology that has allowed us to refresh the pack and we are looking forward to working with them on a number of different projects which we currently have in the pipeline.”
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