5 examples of packaging copy I wish I’d written

August 3, 2011

According to research, shoppers make an average of 70% of their purchasing decisions at the point of sale.* That gives marketers a brilliant opportunity to turn those people into customers in the store.

The trouble is, retailers won’t always let you advertise on in-store posters or shelf wobblers. So what can you do?

Look at the most obvious and affordable advertising medium available to you – your packaging. Is it working as hard as it could? How does it compare with your competitors’ packaging? Could it be telling customers more?

So much packaging isn’t trying very hard. Sure there are many excellent package and label designs, some of which catch your eyes as you scan the shelves. But when you look closer, and read the label copy, it doesn’t often tell you much beyond the ingredients and where the product is made.

The marketers of these brands are missing an opportunity to tell their brand story, to engage prospective customers more deeply, to sell harder.

Think about it. This is one of the best opportunities these marketers will ever have to sell directly to customers. And they’re wasting it.

In the case of new brands, it’s an opportunity that’s too good to miss.

But where would you add more copy to tell your brand story? You don’t want to mess up the front of a label design – that’s what pulls people in. But you could use the sides and the back and the top, couldn’t you? And if you market a drink, you could include a neck tag.

The following are examples of brands that use copy creatively on their packaging. In some cases they just use space cleverly. In others, they add charming or even outrageous copy that matches a powerful pack design. These are not my work – I wish they were. Click the photos to enlarge them.

1. innocent smoothies

innocent smoothies' distinctive label copy helped to create the brand

Over a decade ago, this brand started using copy on its packs in unusual ways that other brands have imitated. The copy has a distinct, playful, “innocent” tone of voice. It informs and entertains, and invites you to interact with the company, either online or  by calling innocent’s “Banana phone”.

innocent develops a rapport with customers by including cheeky messages in unexpected places

 

(Thanks to Ted Hunt, at This Is Helpful, for the photos of innocent packaging.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Dr Bronner’s

Dr Bronner was never lost for words

The copy on Dr Bronner’s soaps is part of the visual attraction – there’s just so much of it spilling all over the front of the label. When you first read it, you might think the writer (the rabbi Dr Bronner himself?) was bonkers – but in a charming way. You’re left in no doubt of his passion for his product.

Here’s a sample of the good doctor’s label copy:

“6th: Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! Balanced food for body-mind-soul-spirit is our medicine! Full-truth our God, half-truth our enemy, hard work our salvation, unity our goal, free speech our weapon. All-One our soul, self-discipline, the key to uniting All-One above! Above! [etc]”

You’ve got to admit, it’s different. (Thanks to photographer Omegatron for the use of this shot.)

 

3.  Fat Pig

Breathtakingly cheeky copy

Perhaps you wouldn’t give Fat Pig chocolates to your mother, but I expect a lot of unashamed fat pigs out there would love a box. The big and bold copy is part of the pack design, and it really gets straight to the point.  It has  a very distinctive tone of voice. (Thanks to Chris Zawada at Lovely Package for the use of this shot.)

 

 

4. Nutrient Water

Make your prospective customers smile about your product benefits, and you'll start to develop a relationship with them

 

I think this is an Australian brand. I’d never heard of it before I stumbled across it online. But if I was in a store and picked up a bottle from the shelf to check it out, I think the amusing copy would tempt me to try it. (Thanks to photographer Cameron Laird for the use of this shot.)

 

 

 

 

 

5. BrewDog

From a distance it looks like a promotion...

This Scottish beer brand has made the news a number of times with one outrageous stunt or another, most recently with an aphrodisiac brew for the royal newlyweds.

 

 

 

 

...The necktag makes not having a promotion sound like a virtue

I love the way BrewDog uses a neck tag on its beer to send up other brands’ promotions. It draws attention to the craft that’s gone into making BrewDog beer in a clever, original and inexpensive way.

(Thanks to James Watt at BrewDog for the use of these photos.)

 

 

 

 

Would you like to mention another excellent piece of packaging copy? Share your thoughts below.

*Figure taken from Business Link.

 

 

 

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