Creative Packaging Inspiration from the World’s Biggest Brands

Amy Hawthorne

by Amy Hawthorne

18th September 2014

Contract packing is one of the ultimate but most important stages of designing your product. The contract packing company you hire should be innovative, creative and have a full understanding of your brand. Your packaging should perfectly reflect the image you want to project.

The packaging of your product is the first thing your potential customers will see. If it’s dull or monotonous, it’s not going to stand out from everything else on the shelf.

Luckily, even the less creative minds can pass on this task to a suitable contract packing company. Some of the world’s biggest brands continue to innovate and lead their markets thanks to the eye-catching packaging they encase their products in. If you’ve hit a creative wall, cast your eye amongst the limited-edition packaging showcased by these huge brands, and you may feel some sparks of inspiration.

Whether these innovative designs have been crafted with aesthetics or the environment in mind, they jump out in their industry, will certainly grab consumers’ attention and will hopefully inspire brands to continue to evolve.

The Ice Bottle by Coca-Cola

With unarguably the most recognisable logo across the beverage industry worldwide, Coca-Cola has continued to dominate the spotlight when it comes to cold, refreshing drinks.

Alongside the famous lit-up Christmas truck, the classic shape of the Coca-Cola bottle has become one of the most iconic parts of the Coca-Cola brand today. Over the years, Coca-Cola has made various adjustments to their bottle, on a limited period basis.

For one extra cool venture, it seems that Coca-Cola teamed up with not only a creative contract packing company, but also a couple of chemists. The company outdid even itself when it created Coke bottles made entirely from ice!

The idea behind this was that the ice bottles would keep the Coke contents “fría hasta la última gota” (cold to the last drop) and they would be served on beaches in Columbia in the scorching hot summer.

The process involves pouring micro-filtered water into silicone moulds and freezing the water to -25°C. The ice bottles are in-keeping with the traditional shape of the Coca-Cola bottle, and are wrapped in a red rubber band to ensure drinkers’ hands don’t get too cold!

An added benefit: Once the Coke has been consumed, the ice melts and there is less plastic waste! The rubber band can even be turned into a bracelet, potentially prompting inquiries from friends and even more sales.

Bar staff on the Colombian beaches are said to have sold around 265 of the ice bottles per hour, on average, and the company has won awards for its innovation.

Nike Air Inflatable Packaging

World-wide brand? tick. Endorsed by some of the biggest celebrities? tick. Instantly recognisable branding? tick.

Nike continues to lead the sportswear market with both its wearable products and its creative packaging and marketing. When Nike chose to adopt some limited-edition packaging for its footwear, it went for an innovative deviation from the traditional shoe packaging.

An example of creative contract packing from Nike - Inflatable cushions to contain trainers

Inflatable cushions for Nike Air trainers. Image courtesy of

Nike Air Max trainers were sold to some consumers in an inflatable, transparent cushion. The shoes were visible without opening the package and it was representative of what was inside.

The inflatable packaging emphasised the light-weight cushioning and breathable structure of Nike trainers, showcasing their suitability for athletes.

I’m not sure how the products were stored in retailers, but the new approach to contract packing would certainly have grabbed attention and perfectly reflected the Nike image.

Absolut Vodka Originality

One of the world’s leading vodka brands, Absolut, is probably better known for its innovative contract packing ideas more so than its taste.

Absolut launched ‘Absolut Originality’ in 2013, where they explored the possibilities of creative bottle design in a way that turned heads. Absolut Originality consists of 4 million individually designed bottles, making each one unique to the rest.

The design of each bottle is inspired by traditional Swedish glass craft, and every bottle has a drop of cobalt blue infused into it. The cobalt blue is added as the molten glass is poured into a mould at 1100°C. The blue streak is invisible until the glass sets, and leaves a random streak within the container. As a result, no two bottles are the same.

This takes the usual process of contract packing – where multiple identical copies of something are made – and turns it completely upside down by questioning the norms.

These limited-edition bottles came out in 2013 and are a nod towards future innovative designs the forward-thinking brand could produce.

McDonald’s World Cup Packaging

Despite its bad press for being almost nutritionally void, there’s no denying that the yellow arches are a meaningful symbol for the majority of people around the globe.

During the FIFA World Cup 2014, McDonald’s made some adjustments to its traditional, more basic contract packing choices. They created a range of colourful and eye-catching designs for French fries, which can actually be turned into a virtual football game.

Mcdonalds creative contract packing

FIFA World Cup french fry boxes by McDonald’s. Image courtesy of

As a result, McDonald’s created further hype around the World Cup and encouraged people to get involved by buying their fries. The ‘McDonald’s GOL!’ mobile app was launched. Users were able to hold their mobile device up to the chip boxes, and touch their screens to avoid obstacles and score goals.

The app uses Qualcomm Vuforia mobile vision platform; a relatively new technological advancement where users build their own play spaces using everyday objects.

McDonald’s stays at the top of the Fast Food chain, and it’s because they continue to drive originality through their packaging ideas and unique campaigns such as this one.

Puma’s Clever Little Bag

Puma is a worldwide sports brand that has persevered throughout its history, since it was formed in 1924 by German brothers. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Puma is, for most, that leaping Puma cat.

Not everyone is aware of the innovative steps Puma has taken to reduce its impact on the environment, by teaming up with fuseproject to create a potentially market-changing package design.

Rather than stick to the traditional cardboard shoe box, which has been static as the norm for too long, Puma’s Clever Little Bag was built as a more environmentally friendly alternative.

The bag reduces cardboard use by 65%. Although there is cardboard inside the bag, it is made from one flat piece of material which requires no assembly or printing – making recycling much more efficient. The bag has been stitched with heat and is made of recycled materials.

The cardboard has a slit through which the handle of the bag shows through for ease of transportation for the customer. Another plus; this eliminates the need for a further plastic bag and so is another environmental benefit.

If other major brands were to follow in Puma’s more conscious paw prints, the sports industry could make a huge impression on the way the earth is looked after.

The creative packaging ideas showcased by these global brands should be enough to inspire any company to work on some out-of-the-box packaging.

We know it can be difficult to get your head around packaging in the chemical industry but ReAgent offers a range of services, including Contract Packing, and we can work with you every step of the way to build your product and get it to your customers.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you would like any more information about Contract Packing.


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