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It's packaging, it's wacky - welcome to the world of wackaging

It's packaging, it's wacky - welcome to the world of wackaging

November 25, 2011 by Rachel Miller

WackagingIt all started with Innocent Drinks, those crazy guys and their wonderful flights of fancy on their packaging. Cheeky, chummy copywriting was their thing.

And now everyone wants to “do an Innocent”. Now wacky wording on packaging — or wackaging as it is now dubbed — is alarmingly prevalent. And the jury is out on whether it is indeed big and clever. Or is it, in fact, completely annoying?

What do you think?

To see some of the worst offenders, check out Guardian journalist Rebecca Nicholson’s brilliant blog at Tumblr —

I have to admit, there’s one example that I do like. It’s on the Pret A Manger Still Lemon Aid bottle. It says: best served chilled (as indeed we all are). This at least has some wit and intelligence and it’s relatively low-key.

Other examples are not so subtle. There seem to be two distinct ends of the spectrum with this wackaging malarkey. At one end, you’ve got the cheeky chappy approach — it’s a bit Jamie Oliver, a bit lovely jubbly. Take a bow M&S with your “Purely Pineapple goes large”. That is like a bad case of dad dancing if ever I saw one.

Then there’s the cutesy stuff that frankly makes you want to stick your fingers down your throat. Step forward food brand Ella’s Kitchen with this copy that just begs to be delivered in a baby voice: “My Dad made a promise to me and my brother that he would only use stuff in our products that is natural, is pure and helps make us healthy. I told him everything also has to taste great and he agreed! Ella x”

The bottom line is that these brands are trying to talk to us like they are our best mates. And that’s a mistake because they are not, they’re businesses. And however much they may claim to be terribly cool and right-on, let’s not forget they are actually in the business of making money.

But worse, if our mates talked to us like some of these wacky brands, we’d probably drop them faster than you can scoff a Broderick’s Belgy Nicker Nutty Drippy Drop. Now that’s a chocolate bar that is simply screaming, “I’m wacky, me!”

Enough already.

Rachel Miller is the editor of Marketing Donut.


gloocomms's picture

It's all about credibility. Innocent get away with being 'wacky' because it fits with what else we know about them. Take a look at their website, everything down to the bios of the staff is consistent with them being a bit different. How long that lasts no that Coca-Cola own a controlling share we'll see — Ben and Jerry's seem to be doing ok as part of Unilever.

Marketing isn't about making things up. It amuses me how many products are labelled 'deluxe' and the like, sticking something on the packaging doesn't make it so. I think that we associate being quirky and individual with small, niche companies. That's why when huge conglomerates churn out candy bars on huge production lines we are predisposed to consider their 'witty' names with a healthy dose of cynicism. I think that you've summed it up beautifully, it is indeed 'dad dancing'.

haf's picture

I love these brands and the designs.  How can they offend?  Maybe all you mates are dull.  LOL ONLY joking to make my point!  Spike Milligan would love them too.  They aint going to please everyone.. which is bang on. Nor should they.  Thank the lord for consumerism. 

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