Packaging, the new creative eldorado: when packaging becomes a weapon of mass communication

Packaging can serve as a powerful communication medium, especially these days, thanks to the social networks. The combined force of packaging and the social networks can drive major campaigns, and all kinds of ideas can be leveraged for a marketing or communication purpose. attracts more than 1.6 million individual visitors per month. This is a site dedicated to creative inspiration, on which new ideas are presented every day. It is one of the top 3 best performing media on the social networks, with 2.6 million followers and more than 1 billion videos viewed annually. The main activity of this media source is to promote creative ideas from agencies and brands.

The objective of this talk is to present examples of ideas that have worked, along with examples of what not to do.


Original or outlandish ideas using packaging can have quite an impact on a brand’s image and on each communication medium:

  • Boston Pizza: this Canadian chain had the idea of revolutionising the pizza box by creating a food tray out of the packaging. This makes it easier to enjoy your pizza while lying in bed or lounging on the sofa. This kind of idea can create conversation topics on the social networks and generate a buzz. The campaign was viewed by around 6 million people worldwide, for a highly accessible production cost.
  • Bagelstein: to coincide with the baccalaureate exams in French schools, the company created water bottles with cheat sheets on the labels! Crib notes for examination students were placed on the bottle labels, to generate a buzz among young people.
  • KFC: in New Zealand, the fast-food chain used its distinctive buckets as the template for supporters caps, each customised with the symbols and colours of the different national teams. The manufacturing process consisted of a simple printing procedure, whereby the fans of each team were encouraged to get along to KFC before their game so as to pick up the cap and go and support their team.


Ecology is a major concern in our society, and companies are using it as a source of inspiration, sometimes purely for marketing purposes, but also as part of a genuinely committed approach:

  • D’Arbo: this Austrian honey producer has created a package whose label is entirely the work of bees, with the labels being “grown” in the hives where the worker bees create the cells. The labels generated in this way are entirely organic and natural.
  • French fries cone made of potato peelings: an idea dreamt up by three students, consisting in recycling the peelings from potatoes used to make French fries to produce entirely ecological cones. They can be discarded on the ground to degrade naturally or be eaten by birds.
  • Edeka: this supermarket chain has rolled out biodegradable shopping bags made of maize. Each bag contains tomato or cucumber seeds and can be planted in the ground with organic waste for growing vegetables: a fine example of eco-design packaging.


Digital transition also has its role to play in packaging as a communication medium, in particular through connected packaging:

  • Haribo: the brand used augmented reality on its packaging to produce mini-games and events for Halloween.
  • 19 Crimes: the wine company created bottle labels on which each character speaks in augmented reality.
  • Perrier: a light-hearted initiative by the brand, showing how the creation of an iconic packaging design can have a positive knock-on effect. A Perrier bottle can be recognised at a glance, even without its label. The company’s idea consisted of a Snapchat filter turning customers into brand ambassadors.


Sometimes, in matters of packaging, apparently brilliant ideas can have negative consequences on the brand image, and an excess of creativity can lead to controversy:

  • E-mart: this Korean store chain started marketing shrink-wrapped bananas, classified from least to most ripe, which theoretically meant that they would all be consumed at the right time, so avoiding waste. Although the idea might seem sound on paper, it received a mixed reception due to the questionable logic of wrapping pieces of fruit in plastic.
  • Godiva: the chocolate brand created an infinite sharing box, divided into several gift boxes. Although the idea might seem interesting, it adds a lot of packaging to the whole and consumes four times as much card and plastic as a normal chocolate box. These kinds of ideas can be put in place on a small scale and on a fleeting basis, but their extensive development should be avoided.
  • Uwe Ewinger: this motorbike manufacturer had the idea of creating a bottle of gin aimed at bikers, with each bottle containing motorbike parts, after the fashion of certain liquors which contain fruit or larvae. The idea may seem logical, but do we really want to drink gin with bits of machinery in it?