A dozen packaging designs that missed the mark

By Kate Bertrand Connolly in Packaging Design on January 28, 2020

Brand owners and their packaging designers strive for a bull’s-eye with each new creative brief, but the package designs that make it into the marketplace aren’t always on target.

The reasons for failure are myriad. The package may be great looking and protective of the product, but it’s tough to open; a package may be convenient and easy to use, but it can’t be recycled; or a redesigned package may not do as good a job of ensuring product freshness as the original pack.

Combing through the designs Packaging Digest has covered in years gone by, we found 12 examples of packages that seemed successful at first glance—but generated reader comments ranging from constructively critical to downright hostile. The depreciated dozen are:

Page 1 - Lipton tea bag box
Page 2 - Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise squeeze bottle
Page 3 - Tropicana multi-serve PET bottle
Page 4 - SeaPak shrimp bag
Page 5 - ConAgra’s Healthy Choice Café Steamers
Page 6 - Quaker Overnight Oats
Page 7 - Orbit gum package structure
Page 8 - Hill’s Science Diet
Page 9 - Benadryl topical gel bottle
Page 10 - Walmart compliance pack
Page 11 - Coty/Clairol Nice’n Easy redesign
Page 12 - Old Spice PET bottles

Read on to learn where each package went wrong, including the specific design failures that our readers discussed in the comments section.


1. Lipton tea bag box is not so golden

Though visually striking, a redesign for 100-count boxes of Lipton tea bags went sadly awry. The redesign eliminated individual paper wrappers for the tea bags and instead used gold foil sleeves on paperboard trays holding 25 tea bags each.

Several readers were concerned about freshness. One wrote, “If the purpose is to keep the tea fresh what happens when you open the gold foil up? 100 tea bags are no longer fresh! Don’t change something that works!!!”

Another piled on, writing, “Terrible idea to not wrap tea bags individually. Once foil sleeve is opened, tea bags [lose] their potency and begin to go stale. Been a Lipton tea drinker over 40 years.”

Other commenters said they missed the portability and cleanliness of individually wrapped tea bags, and some noted that unwrapped tea bags aren’t appropriate for foodservice.

Could there be an easy solution? Some readers suggested wrapping each tea bag in the foil.

[Editor’s note: People commented on the article page and on the slideshow page.]


Next: Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise squeeze bottle


WestPack-2020  WestPack 2020: Ideas. Education. New Partners. Feb. 11-13

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