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May 10, 2013

Is Your Banana Wrapped in Plastic?

Is Your Banana Wrapped in Plastic?

In an ideal world, there would be no need for packaging; every food item, electronic item or home accent would come encased in an impenetrable, invisible shield, protecting it from the rigors of transportation. Potato chips would all be whole (without exception), laptops would arrive without a scratch, and ceramic figurines would remain in a permanent state of un-shattered.

Unfortunately for the consumer but fortunately for package designers, technology, while successful in delivering us personalized ring tones, has yet to come up with any meaningful packaging innovations. We still need bubble wrap; we still need foam peanuts and we still need bottles, cans, bags and boxes.

So, for the package designer and, indeed, the product manufacturer, the ultimate goal is to design a package that combines strength, utility and style into one eye-catching unit. They work together for weeks and even months fleshing out the ideas, brainstorming, developing 3D prototypes, spending money, conference calling and measuring public opinion. With all of the work and consideration that executives and designers put into the imagining, design and fabrication of a package, why would they settle for these?

The Demon Panda Fish Snack

The Japanese like their snacks crispy, unidentifiable and promoted by abominations of nature. We’re not even going to suggest a remedy for this; we’re just going to hope that no panda fish were harmed in the packaging. They’re rare, you know.

This is a case of the package graphics, rather than the package structure, being bizarre. Perhaps it’s just a matter of two cultures failing to understand what the other considers a selling point. Maybe, in Japan, they would look at a box of Count Chocula with unmitigated horror. It’s not hard to see why.

The Demon King Burger Packaging

Unlike, say, Col. Sanders, the Burger King “king” was never a real person, so his image lacks warmth or even any trace of a human soul. In fact, we’re fairly certain that if you stare at it long enough, it will succeed in draining a significant portion of your own soul.

This is actually a mock up of a company’s promotional packaging idea — we’re not certain if the idea was ever put into practice. Nonetheless, we’ll probably never truly sleep soundly with the memory of that cold, dead, cartoon face burned into our brains.

Here They Are! Bananas Individually Wrapped!

At one point, Del Monte individually wrapped bananas in plastic – successfully managing to overlook the fact that bananas actually come prepackaged by nature. This display does Del Monte one better by including a tray in addition to the plastic wrapping. The distributor managed to make harmless little bananas look positively dystopian.

This is, quite possibly, the most ridiculous example of superfluous packaging we’ve ever seen. It surpasses even the atrocity of clamshell packaging, because even though we despise the hard, impossible to open, hand-shredding nature of the clamshell, at least the products inside actually needed packaging of some sort.

The Demon Avatar Creature

There is, quite literally, nothing right with this package. NOTHING. The multiple fonts are unreadable; the color scheme is offensively awful and the photo of the model makes precious little sense. (What’s on her eyes? WHAT IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS DECENT IS THAT ON HER EYES?)

So, what have we learned today? We’ve learned that bad product packaging can not only be ruinous to the environment, it can also put a hurtin’ on our eyes. We’ve learned that Demon Panda Fish are very rare, but that is possibly due to their overconsumption of beer. We’ve learned that women apparently don’t mind using a cosmetic product featuring a woman on the package with two gigantic tumors growing out of her eye sockets. Most importantly, we’ve learned that “Is Your Banana Wrapped in Plastic” would be a fantastic name for a prog-rock band.

author

by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

Purposefully selective, we work with brands that want to stand out and also stand for something.

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