How brands around the world are turning to wrapping paper to spread their own Christmas message about sustainability
As we barrel through the festive season, brands are feverishly ramping up their marketing, using every channel to grab consumer attention and cash. But while many feel we have reached peak platform – the human mind unable to cope with more messages from more directions – there’s now another to add to the list: wrapping paper.
It’s so simple it’s a wonder it’s not been done before. After all, the history of wrapping paper goes all the way back to the second century BC, when gifts in ancient China would be presented in ornate paper envelopes. But this year, a number of brands have spotted the potential of gift wrap as a marketing channel, as well as a tangible indicator of their sustainable values.
Scented gift wrap
Last weekend, Unilever beauty brand Love Beauty and Planet put an ad in the New York Times that doubled as great-looking wrapping paper. The illustrations on the gift wrap include a number of sustainability messages such as ‘25m tons of waste is created during the holiday season’, encouraging people to recycle and reuse their festive packaging.
In the UK, fashion retailer Fat Face is asking its customers to turn its paper shopping bags into wrapping paper, adding cutting and folding instructions to the bags and encouraging recycling. Elsewhere, Dunkin’ Donuts have produced scented gift wrap that smells of peppermint and food brand Jimmy Dean are offering sausage-scented paper to customers who send in a photo of themselves cooking one of their products.
Sustainable Christmas markets
While Christmas offers plenty of opportunity for marketing creativity and fun – especially if you’re a sausage fan – there’s an underlying sustainability message behind most of these festive campaigns. People now understand the need for recyclable materials, and are actively looking for paper and packaging they can either recycle easily or simply use again.
“People are actively looking for paper and packaging they can either recycle easily or simply use again”
There are even Christmas markets dedicated to sustainable shopping. Alongside stalls selling gifts from ethical brands such as Awake Organics and Doc Cotton, Pebblefestival also featured talks on topics such as reducing your festive food waste and workshops on how to make zero-waste Christmas decorations.
Then there’s London’s Zero Waste Christmas Market, whose profits go towards tree-planting projects, and the Sustainable Christmas Market, which handpicks its retailers according to the innovative ways they approach sustainability.
Recycle and reuse
However, most of the environmental work this Christmas will be done in our own homes, as we try and cut down on the amount of single-use plastic and un-recyclable paper given and received. As a general rule you should avoid using wrapping paper or sending Christmas cards with foil, glitter or any kind of plastic as any of these renders them unrecyclable, and use more cardboard gift boxes or bags and encourage the recipient to keep and reuse them next year.
Then, when you’ve opened the presents, sorted the wrapping, eaten the turkey and put out the recycling, relax. You’ve got it all to do again next year.
Happy Christmas from everyone in the Two Sides team.