Smurfit Kappa Yate has detailed the work it undertook with fast-food retailer Papa John’s, to successfully deliver exclusive packaging for a limited time offer ran in 2020 in collaboration with video game franchise Call of Duty.

Smurfit Kappa Yate has been a collaborative supplier to Papa John’s for more than 10 years, and has acted as the sole supplier for pizza boxes since August 2019. In total, Smurfit Kappa Yate produces more than 35 million pizza boxes for Papa John’s every year. This also includes special projects, such as these Call of Duty themed boxes, which followed a limited time packaging creation to tie in with a recent Godzilla vs Kong film release.

For the 2020 launch of Call of Duty: Cold War, Papa John’s sought pizza boxes with ‘amazing, striking imagery’, and which would make a lasting impression on its customers. The aim was to create pizza boxes that ‘differentiated and disrupted’ the marketplace.

A particular challenge with the brief provided by Papa John’s and Cygnus, the company’s creative agency, came in the reprographics. Artwork for the Call of Duty collaboration was supplied as untagged CMYK. When artwork is untagged, there is no colour profile or target on how the imagery should appear. This is further complicated by the fact that printing onto an uncoated board for pizza boxes will always deliver a different result than printing onto coated bright white paper, stated Smurfit Kappa. The CMYK artwork provided also did not take into account the total ink coverage limits of pre-print flexo, which is 260%. This meant the Smurfit Kappa Yate team had to re-separate the artwork in order to reduce ink coverage to a usable limit. Not only that, but the artwork did not allow for the misregister movement of a flexo process, which could have left the text on the design unreadable.

The solution to these challenges saw the supplied CMYK artwork converted to spot colours. With this approach, large areas of colour were created from single spot colours. This eliminated the total ink coverage problems, as well as the issues with misregistering. The Smurfit Kappa Yate design team then worked to manually retouch the images so elements such as text and details would appear correctly.

Giles Codd, senior director of marketing at Papa John’s, said, ‘We have been working with Smurfit Kappa for more than 10 years, and once again it has produced incredible pizza box packaging for our latest limited time offer. This collaboration with Call of Duty: Cold War is one of our most successful yet, and we are over the moon to have boxes which leave a lasting impression on our customers.’

Lee Gammon, key account director at Smurfit Kappa Yate, added, ‘Our client had high demands for this project, and we were confident we could meet their high expectations and overcome the challenges.’

His colleague Dave Whittle, print manager, continued, ‘The detailed imagery and artwork for this project was a huge roadblock for our print team. We had to think outside the box and come up with a solution to deliver packaging which was striking and bold.’

Jamie Rayner, creative director at Cygnus, concluded, ‘It’s great working with a print partner that doesn’t use the phrase, ‘We can’t do that!’. As a creative agency that likes to push the boundaries with every project we work on, we knew we were asking a lot from Smurfit Kappa Yate with our Call of Duty designs. The outcome was a pizza box more complex in print than many you’ll see, and something we’re all really proud of.’