19 April, 2018
THE UNBOXING PHENOMENON HAS BRAND OWNERS RE-THINKING STORYTELLING.
In 2017, there were over 20 million in search results on Youtube for the term ‘unboxing’, which refers to the simple act of taking a new product from its packaging and examining its features, typically when filmed and shared on a social media site.
An unboxing video showing the tiny plastic toys inside Disney-themed Kinder Eggs has attracted more than 35 million views. And L.O.L Surprise! Dolls have been specifically created withunboxing in mind, with kids encouraged to watch, film and post videos of the process to YouTube. Hit childpreneur Evan of EvanTubeHD now has a staggering five million subscribers to the unboxing channel that he and his father created back in 2011. Posting around three videos each week, unboxing and reviewing toys, the father-son duo is now worth an estimated US$8 million and probably earn around US$4,300 per day from advertising. The numbers are big enough to take note of.
But it’s not just children that make up the majority of unboxing viewers. These days, there are unboxing videos for a multitude of different categories. From clothing and lipstick through to coffee machines and even snack foods, there’s a way for consumers to experience opening the product before they’ve even seen it in a shop, and this is an excellent way for marketers to get in on the action, showcasing their products in all of their untouched splendour.
Independent luxury brands with a focus on authentic brand stories and limited-edition goods are increasingly disrupting the market. Using design in a way that encourages an unboxing experience through social media reflects the increase in dialogue between consumers and luxury brands online. With the incremental growth unboxing is experiencing, you can’t help think this is just the tip of the, ahem, boxberg.
THE CEREMONY BEGINS.
It extends beyond YouTube too. Where ubiquitous brown parcels used to arrive under the radar and unbranded, mail order companies are now taking packaging and the ceremony of inhome opening out of the operations department and into the marketing department where it’s considered part of the whole brand experience. The more time, cleverness and brand-distinct language that’s discovered as part of the unlayering process, the more memorable, enjoyable, and shareable the brand is. However much of a commodity a product is, an online delivery can become a treat surrounded by joyful apprehension with the right customer service and packaging cues. Check out Who Gives A Crap toilet paper for an excellent example of this.
As the trend develops, brands not only have to consider exterior packaging aesthetics, but also the journey of opening the box, and how it appears visually during each step of the process. At the post office, on the street, on the reception desk, in the mail room, and in the recycling pile… The fight for consumer attention no longer exists solely at the supermarket shelf.
As consumers continue to respond well to ‘surprise and delight’ moments in all areas of life, playfulness is key. Packaging concepts using creative 3D structures, layers of pattern, graphics, games, interactive elements and storytelling tap into this.
Blink watches, for example, come in packaging designed to celebrate unboxing, giving the consumer something new to explore during each step of the process. Strong concepts might include a rip-top bag, a beautiful monochrome box, a doorlike flap, or peep holes for copy.
There’s a clear need to sensitively design packaging that acts as a micro-showroom and encourages an unboxing experience that’s shareable on Instagram.
More than ever, consumers are expecting engaging shopping experiences. Will you answer the call?
By Gwen Blake