Lisa McTigue Pierce, Executive Editor

November 6, 2015

8 Min Read
5 new packages suffer crushing criticism

Your packaging peers can be your toughest critics. But not, it seems, because of their experience and knowledge of what can or cannot be done technically, economically or operationally. They’re consumers, too, who are passionate about packaging and won’t stand for mediocrity.

An example of a doosie disappointment early this year was the Hungry Jack microwavable syrup bottle, which was replaced with a non-microwavable container…then changed back after the consumer uproar.

But here are five other examples where people have posted crushing comments to articles on our website about new packages they apparently think should never have been conceived, much less developed and sold.

Warning: Some of the biting language may offend you, especially if you were the designer of the package being critiqued.

Think these brand owners are listening? If not to these comments, perhaps they will to a drop in sales.

1. Lipton’s new tea bag packaging brews trouble

As a Lipton tea bag customer, when I bought the new package, I thought it was a welcome refresh. Lipton replaced individual tea bag wraps with four bricks of 25 unpacked bags in a tray wrapped in gold foil. I still like the redesign, but I’m in the minority—11 of the 13 comments posted on our site were thumbs down. How many ways can you say “terrible”?

Anonymous: “It sucks. We cannot serve unwrapped tea bags to our patrons. They just lost a customer.”

Jim MM: “Very disappointed with the new packaging. The teabags have lost their portability. Also, the flavor is off. I'm not sure if the new packaging is off gassing the unpleasant taste or the product has simply become subpar.”

Anonymous: “This is crap! I can no longer enjoy my morning tea. I also can't trust to order tea at a restaurant. I have no problem with the company trying something new. You've tried and failed. Now go back to the old tea bags.”

Anonymous: “I was very surprised when I got home and opened the box to see the tea bags were all in a foil wrap.... so disappointed as I don’t believe the tea bags will stay fresh. Individual envelopes keep the freshness in. Now I have 100 tea bags with no doubt will have the same taste. :( ”

Anonymous: “The foil is fine but when I opened the foil loose tea was everywhere the bags seal was loose. Now I am using my coffee filters to brew the tea.”

Anonymous: “Hate it. Foil pack ripped after second serving. No longer can toss one in my purse to take along, have to use a baggie. Since foil packs ripped, had to buy a Tupperware container to hold tea. Cost me money I shouldn't have had to spend.”

Anonymous: “If you go to the Lipton site, you'll find that the majority of posters there do not like the new packaging. I haven't posted to the Lipton site, but I don't like the new packaging either. (It's inconvenient and unhygienic.) Lipton is free to package its product as it wishes. I'm free not to buy it and have switched brands.”

Anonymous: “I think the new packaging of Lipton Tea is horrible. How can you say that the tea bags stay fresh when your exposing all of them every time you open the foil pack…Pure cost saving for Lipton…that's it…Twinnings and Bigelow: Now that's properly designed to give the consumer a fresh tea bag…”

Anonymous: “I have never bought any brand of tea other than Lipton for the past 50 years. I hate the new packaging and will never buy Lipton again. The new packaging is a step backwards for Lipton and is clearly away for them to cut costs and cheapen the product.”

Anonymous: “Terrible packaging. Fresh? Once you open the foil back (which always tears) the hole in the top of the box panel allows air to circulate. Have to use plastic lunch bags to keep them fresh - interesting that we now have to use our own PLASTIC so you can claim how environmentally responsible you are! I will be changing brands when I can no longer find the old box with individually packaged tea bags. That is a shame that you will lose a lifelong customer because of stupid packaging.”

NEXT: 2. Gillette’s ‘no rust’ shave-gel can just can’t


2. Gillette’s ‘no rust’ shave-gel can just can’t

Gillette opted for a plastic instead of metal can for its Fusion ProGlide Sensitive 2-in-1 Shave Gel Plus Skin Care to prevent annoying rust rings in the bathroom. Good job there. But, hey. What about getting the gel out? Ah, apparently not so easy.

Anonymous: “I've used two of these new gel dispensers, Airopacks as they are called. First one was fine, but second one has stopped dispensing the gel even though there is maybe 3/4 of the gel still in the container. I've tried cleaning the nozzle, taking the whole top part containing the nozzle assembly off the dispenser and cleaning everything to ensure no blockages, but still the gel won't come out when the button is pressed.”

Anonymous: “It does not show clearly the locking/unlocking nozzle.”

Anonymous: “Dozens of complaints with this product as many are faulty & does not dispense the gel at all!”

NEXT: 3. Philadelphia Cream Cheese tub can’t close the deal


3. Philadelphia Cream Cheese tub can’t close the deal

The new oval tub for Philadelphia Cream Cheese is space efficient, which is a benefit for store displays and in-home refrigerators. But why doesn’t the reclosable lid attach securely?

Anonymous: “The new packaging sucks. It doesn't seal tight. The lid falls off with barely a nudge.”

Anonymous: “Absolutely dreadful package. You can't even get it out of the store before the lid has fallen off, and if you're really unfortunate, you can pick it up the wrong way at home and have cream cheese all over your kitchen floor. What idiot designed this?”

Anonymous: “Just bought one this past week. 10 oz. tub with a red lid saying "25% FREE." The lid falls off when you grab it from the dairy case in the store. I mean this thing doesn't even "click" when you put it on…it just literally sits on top of the tub. Bonehead packaging at its finest!”

NEXT: 4. Purex detergent cap needs a dose of improvement


4. Purex detergent cap needs a dose of improvement

Perhaps the designers of the new Purex PowerShot concentrated laundry detergent packaging need to concentrate a bit more on communicating how the auto-dosing closure works and why it’s better than a typical do-it-yourself dosing cap.

Ben V: “It does not work as described. Pure gimmick.”

Anonymous: “Didn’t work as advertised.”

Anonymous: “Wife bought two bottles... what a POS! I grabbed the top and unscrewed it…like others say, it’s just a marketing gimmick. Will not buy any more Purex with these tops. Maybe not buying Purex at all…”

NEXT: 5. Hellman’s mayonnaise bottle goes all out but not all in


5. Hellman’s mayonnaise bottle goes all out but not all in

The one-piece, two-tone cap on Hellmann’s new mayonnaise squeeze bottle from Best Foods/Unilever certainly catches the eye on shelf. It also provides stability for the inverted container and helps dispense the condiment with more precision. What it doesn’t do, though, is intuitively show how to open it.

Anonymous: “Looks like the bottle is wearing a bikini.”


Anonymous: “I didn't realize the new bottle when I purchased it... I'm having to Google how to open the stupid thing.”

Anonymous: “This bottle sucks and doesn't open!!! Put instructions on the label, what a pain.”

Anonymous: “Why don't the idiots tell us how to open it?? Too busy promoting the new look. I'll never buy another one.”

Anonymous: “This bottle does not open. Very poor design or include operating instructions please.”

Anonymous: Packaging Digest - you have 7 complaints about the same thing - yet you can't answer them (it) should change your name...digest that.”

[Our answer is writing this article!]

NEXT: Bonus item! P&G’s blister: Try it, you’ll like it


Bonus item! P&G’s blister: Try it, you’ll like it

Perhaps it’s not fair including this one…Procter & Gamble’s Cover Girl Ultra Smooth blister pack received just one comment, but it was not complimentary. However, Packaging Digest stands by its decision to feature this new package on the cover of our Summer 2015 issue. This is one of those packages you’ve got to see and handle to appreciate.

Anonymous: “Being a longtime CG/Olay consumer, I'm pretty disappointed in this new packaging. Had I not read the article, I would've assumed the clamshell was welded and would not buy the product simply because of the difficulty in getting those damn things opened. Personally, I don't think this elevates the product in the consumer's eye. It does solidify the fact that it's just another needlessly over-packaged consumer good. Booooo P&G...bad move.”


Passionate about packaging design? Learn about the latest developments in packaging innovation at SouthPack 2015, Nov. 18-19, in Orlando, FL.


About the Author(s)

Lisa McTigue Pierce

Executive Editor, Packaging Digest

Lisa McTigue Pierce is Executive Editor of Packaging Digest. She’s been a packaging media journalist since 1982 and tracks emerging trends, new technologies, and best practices across a spectrum of markets for the publication’s global community. Reach her at [email protected] or 630-272-1774.

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