Whatever 2016 may bring, it will have a hard time topping 2015 for innovations in packaging structure and design. The package as a simple shipper/container is a notion of the past. Today, its role as a medium for brand messaging and consumer engagement is recognized as one of its most important functions. The best packaging blends novelty and practicality in ways that make “Why didn’t I think of that?” the instinctive response.
Here for the holidays is a stocking full of some of the most creative packaging specimens offered this year by brands and designers from around the world—one for each of the proverbial 12 days of Christmas. Enjoy!
1. The “Scratchbottle.” Create your own artwork on bottles of Beck’s beer by scratching away an outer layer of aluminum foil.
2. Mobile-enabled “interactive cans.” Join halves of images on two cans, take a smartphone shot of the completed picture, and receive bonus content through a related app on the phone.
3. “Corn on the Cup.” A fastener called an “inverted crash lock” lets a box of popcorn fit snugly onto the top of the Coca-Cola cup for a no-spill, one-handed carry from the snack stand to your seat in the movie theater.
4. Self-heating cosmetic tube. Break the seal of the tube-within-a-tube container to trigger a safe chemical reaction that gently warms facial masks, body oils, etc.
5. The “kübox.” Made of corrugated, it’s a rugged and reusable alternative to cardboard shipping boxes and wooden crates.
6. Coca-Cola’s “Magic Bow” holiday gift bottle. First introduced in 2013, this beverage bottle has a tabbed label that can be peeled back to form a festive bow that stays on the bottle, transforming it into a present.
7. “Safer Lock” protective medication container. Like a briefcase lock, the closure has four scrollable number wheels that have to show the right sequence of numbers before the container can be opened.
8. Triple-decker pizza boxes. This holiday special delivery box from Pizza Hut holds three takeout food items in separate pullout drawers.
9. “Whistling” tea package. Scan a QR code on the package of tea to play a tune that lasts for exactly as long as the tea should be allowed to steep. When the song is over, the tea is perfectly brewed.
10. Improved packaging for U.S. Army MREs. New materials for pouches containing Meals Ready to Eat are expected to keep rations fresh longer (up to three years) and make them easier for soldiers to carry.
11. “Pop-out and play” cereal boxes. Instead of putting toys inside boxes of Kix, General Mills turns the boxes themselves into playthings by adding removable cut-out cardboard forms that can be manipulated into creative shapes.
12. NFC-enabled “connected bottle.” A near-field communications (NFC) tag in the cap of a bottle of Rémy Martin cognac can tell a related smartphone app whether the bottle remains sealed or whether it has been opened and resealed—an indicator of product authenticity for the purchaser. The tag also delivers special content and rewards.
Let’s all raise a glass of something similar to what pours from #12 in a holiday toast to innovative packaging designers and engineers everywhere!