When is packaging more than just a way of transporting and protecting products? The idea of dual-use packaging, where the product packaging has an additional use or interactive element, has been growing for some time. Designers and brands are increasingly looking at ways to make their packaging functional, and engaging or useful for customers.
Take a look at 10 of the best examples of dual-use packaging design:
- Walkers Tear ‘n’ Share bowl
Walkers’ packaging innovation is a great example of design that perfectly suits the product’s purpose. The company created a new range of share-size crisps where the traditional crisp bag packaging can be folded down to form a bowl.
This makes it easy for customers to share the product with others, without ripping the whole bag apart, having the crisps go everywhere or needing to use an additional bowl. The two-in-one design is simple, but effective, and shows that even familiar packaging can be tweaked to deliver extra benefits.
- McDonald’s Happy Meal tray
Although the theme regularly changes, McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes always feature puzzles, jokes and other engaging elements for children. The true beauty of them though is that a simple cardboard pull tab removes the top part of the box, turning it into a tray which can be used for eating from.
This helps to reduce mess and means the packaging has a use beyond the transportation of the food – but still fitting the product. For a fast food restaurant, where there aren’t plates available, it’s a neat idea and shows that sometimes simple can be best when it comes to packaging design.
- Pizza Hut box projector
This special project from Pizza Hut in Hong Kong saw the company team up with advertising agency Ogilvy Hong Kong. The ‘Blockbuster Box’ came with a special pizza table that contained a lense. The lense could be inserted into a perforated hole in the side of the box and used to project a film onto the wall from a smartphone.
The boxes even included a QR code which customers could scan to download a free film to watch. It’s a great way of using packaging for a second purpose, and again is the perfect fit for the product as many people associate pizza with films or hanging out with friends and family. The concept also made use of the existing elements of the packaging, rather than needing a whole new design concept.
- Martell VR headset
A few brands have experimented with product packaging that turns into a virtual reality headset, but the limited edition box from cognac brand Martell was a particularly good example. The packaging could be built into a Google Cardboard headset which customers could use with their smartphone to access a bespoke VR mobile game. The game let players control the symbol of Martell – a swift bird – and try to fly it from Cognac to China collecting special items along the way.
The concept perfectly tied in with the product, which was called Le French Touch, by incorporating a soundtrack by French musician Danger, as well as all of Martell’s branding. It also helped bring VR to a luxury audience, and in turn make the brand seem more accessible to younger customers.
- Tostitos breathalyser bag
Earlier this year, Tostitos manufacturer Frito-Lay teamed up with Goodby Silverstein & Partners to create some very special ‘breathalyser’ packaging for the Superbowl. The concept was designed to help reduce drink driving by making customers think before they drove.
Customers could blow into the limited edition bag and a built-in sensor in the packaging would turn the image on the front red if traces of alcohol were detected. Customers could also save $10 on an Uber ride, and even order a car by tapping their phone on the NFC-enabled bag. This clever marketing promotion shows just how advanced packaging can be with the potential for many different technologies and sensors to be incorporated. It also shows that packaging can be used to provide complementary services.
- Lanson music box
Champagne brand Lanson launched a new range of limited edition packaging this year, where the boxes could be used as speakers. A specially designed resonance system helps to project the sound when a smartphone is connected. The boxes were targeted at the travel and gift segments with the idea that they allow customers to enjoy music, and their champagne, wherever they are.
It also creates the possibility for customers to strongly associate emotions and memories with the product through the use of music – whether it’s a proposal with the couple’s favourite song playing, or a celebration with music to match. With champagne being a slower drinking product, having packaging that fits with that experience, and enhances it, is a great idea.
- Interactive record sleeve packaging
Created as a limited edition, special incentive for his fans, DJ Qbert took the potential of the vinyl record sleeve to new heights with his double LP Extraterrestria and Galaxxxian. The sleeve was printed with special electronics and a Bluetooth controller to look and act like a DJ set-up. Customers could press buttons to manipulate songs via the Djay app and have a go at Dj-ing themselves.
The idea takes a very familiar piece of packaging, the vinyl record sleeve, which hasn’t changed much over the years, and gives it a new purpose. It was also a perfect tie-in with the artist brand and product, which really enhanced the customer experience.
Primarily still a conceptual idea, the Hangerpak is cardboard packaging which can be turned into a clothes hanger. There are a number of different iterations of the idea from different designers, but at its core it means that the delivery packaging for clothing, or even the bag from a physical store, can be turned into a hanger to use with the product after.
It’s a great way of reducing waste by encouraging customers to use the packaging for another purchase. It also shows how designers can re-think the purpose of packaging.
- Doritos music player pack
Another interesting dual-use packaging concept from earlier this year was Doritos’ limited edition music player-integrated bag. Created as part of a marketing campaign for the Guardian of the Galaxy 2 movie, the bags tapped into a key feature of the franchise – music.
The packaging featured a functional retro tape deck-style player built into the front of the bags, which customers could use to play the film’s soundtrack while they enjoyed the product. Once again this concept pushed the possibilities of what packaging could do and how interactivity can enhance the experience.
- Stafidenios raisin packet toys
This another simple, but effective bit of dual-use packaging. With the target market for Stafidenios Raisins being kids, the brand printed different animal designs on the inside of the boxes. Once the raisins had been eaten, the box could be turned inside out to create a cute animal toy – all by folding in different tabs and without the need for glue.
It was a perfectly pitched idea for the audience and makes the product much more interesting for the kid. It also shows how clever packaging design can engage for longer, and get customers interacting with the product more.
By Cate Trotter, Head of Trends, Insider Trends, London.