21,000 Olive Garden Pasta Passes Sold Out in Less Than One Second

That's a lot of fettuccine alfredo!

Less than one second after making their triumphant return to the marketplace, all 21,000 of Olive Garden’s Never-Ending Pasta Passes were snapped up by thousands of people who are apparently unfamiliar with the phrase “too much of a good thing.” To put it in perspective, that’s enough Alfredo-slurping, breadstick-wielding Pasta Pass holders to fill Madison Square Garden.

Pasta Pass holders will be able to gorge themselves on seven weeks’ worth of unlimited pasta, soup or salad, breadsticks, and soda, as often as they want — or are physically capable of? — between October 3 through November 20.

Last year, Olive Garden offered 2,000 passes, all of which were claimed in less than a minute. This year, the chain opted to sell 21,000 in honor of its 21st anniversary — and seemingly could have sold many more.

Sales went live on Thursday at 2 p.m. EST. According to a spokesperson, the first 21,000 people to click “purchase” were able to claim their Pasta Passes: “Everyone else received the sold out message, which for them occurred in less than one second/immediately.”

There are still a handful of passes left — though those who want one will have to duke it out on eBay, where 21 are currently being auctioned to benefit Feeding America. Fair warning: Prices are already well past the original $100, with some bidding as high as $810.

Now the question remains: Will any of this year’s Pasta Pass holders be able to eat more chicken Alfredo than OG superfan Alan Martin, who in 2014 consumed some $1,840 worth of Olive Garden pasta in just seven weeks?

Source:, by Virginia Chamlee - September 16, 2016


A Team Effort

The success of the Olive Garden Never-Ending Pasta Pass wouldn't be possible without the collaboration of several vendors who work regularly with Darden Brands. Travel Tags, Inc. had the pleasure of partnering with Darden Brands (Olive Garden) for another year on the card production and fulfillment of the Never-Ending Pasta Pass. We're honored to be part of an impressive group of vendors who can implement such a successful marketing campaign as the Never-Ending Pasta Pass, year after year!


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TAGS:   card fulfillment, card manufacturing, Gift Card Services, Loyalty, Rewards and Membership, trends


Eyes on the skies: The dream of drone delivery starts to take flight

Drone package delivery is sparking the imagination of retailers, consumers and everybody in between. Here’s what it means to packaging professionals.



Amazon, Google, DHL and Walmart are all working on the supply chain of tomorrow, including package handling and delivery. And although the future looks somewhat different to each of them, all four know they want aerial drone technology to be part of it.

Driving their interest in drone package delivery is the possibility of super-fast shipping—as in next half-hour rather than next day—which in turn relates to the growth of e-commerce and consumers’ changing expectations for what constitutes timely delivery.

Online shoppers clearly are interested in getting their purchases as quickly as possible. In a 2016 survey conducted by Walker Sands Communications, 79% of respondents said they would be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to request drone delivery of their package if it could be delivered within an hour. Of the 1,433 U.S. consumers surveyed, 26% expected to order their first drone-delivered package “in the next two years,” and another 30% said “in the next five years.”

In addition, 73% of Walker Sands’ survey participants said they would pay up to $10 for a drone delivery. Although the economics of drone delivery have not yet been worked out, robust delivery fees could help offset operating costs.

Immediately, if not sooner

Minimizing the time it takes to get products from a warehouse to consumers is a key benefit of drone delivery for e-commerce companies. Amazon has publicly stated that the goal of its Prime Air service, which will use aerial drones, is to get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less—on-demand delivery, essentially.

Amazon Prime Air has tested drone prototypes designed with, for example, a small cargo bay or an external bin for carrying packages. In all cases, the packages loaded onto Amazon’s drones are on the small side, weighing no more than five pounds; the drones would be able to fly 10 miles or more to make a delivery.

The company reportedly has been testing its drones in Canada, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Amazon declined to comment for this article.

Separately, DHL has been testing drones for the delivery of express and emergency items and/or deliveries to difficult-to-reach areas, such as islands and mountaintops. The company completed a three-month test of its Parcelcopter 3.0, a tilt-wing aerial vehicle, in the Bavarian Alps in early 2016.

The test incorporated DHL’s automated Skyport cargo loading and unloading system. Local customers who wished to send a package by drone between the trial program’s two stations simply inserted their package into the Skyport, and the item was loaded onto the drone. Most of the packages contained sporting goods or medicine.

Google, though its Project Wing program, also has been testing drones. One of Google’s delivery models combines aerial drones with rolling, earthbound robots—the aerial vehicles transfer packages to the robots on the ground (also see “Down-to-earth drones tackle the ‘last mile’”). The company previously had tested a drone that lowered packages, on a tether, directly to the ground. Google, which has shied away from publicity about Project Wing, had no comment.

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Source: Packaging Digest, August 10, 2016 -- Kate Bertrand Connolly

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TAGS:   card fulfillment, holidays, trends


Online retailers give the boring brown box on your doorstep an extreme makeover

Retailers trying to break through the Amazon juggernaut are turning front doorsteps into new branding canvases.



Online retailers are giving the humble cardboard box an extreme makeover, transforming a four-sided receptacle for delivering goods into the new shopping bag.

Out: brown, plain, boring.

In: neon colors, ornate lettering, glossy surfaces and geometric stenciling that looks like modern art.

By trying to replicate the delight and status jolt of in-person shopping — walking around New York with a Bloomingdale’s bag once signaled affluence — online retailers trying to break through the Amazon juggernaut are turning front doorsteps into new branding canvases.

As one box veteran puts it, “Every box tells a story.”

And the story often does not end with box cutters. Recipients post photos, videos and reviews online of the coolest boxes. Some re-purpose their boxes to store makeup, watches or even fishing lures. Others hang boxes on their walls, with dioramas inside.

“You all are going to be horrified,” one commenter wrote in an online discussion on a site that reviews boxes (such a thing really does exist), “but I just recycle them.”

This is the best of times for boxes. For decades, a stagnating economy and shift away from manufacturing flattened sales of corrugated and paperboard boxes. But in 2013, sales rebounded and have kept climbing, thanks to an improving economy and, analysts say, a fundamental shift in shopping habits.

Box sales are growing about 3 percent a year and will rise to nearly $40 billion in 2018, according to Katie Wieser, an analyst with the Freedonia Group, a market research firm. But boxes for e-commerce are growing even faster, at 4 percent. Amazon is thought to be the biggest customer, shipping nearly 5 billion packages a year.


Source: The Washington Post, August 21, 2016 

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TAGS:   card fulfillment, holidays, trends