How three brands are getting savvy about second-life packaging

* 2 min read

Actually, we know now this is an unsustainable system. And credit where it’s due, many responsible brands have responded by engineering long-term value into their designs. Recycling trumps waste, but reuse is even better.

A great example is Coca Cola’s 2nd Lives campaign, which saw the brand turn its bottle caps into a whole host of useful objects. Fun and functional, the campaign also exemplified excellent brand citizenship, an area our own Gillian Garside-Wight explored in detail for The Guardian.

In the two years since Gillian wrote that piece however, times have changed. In 2016, a new trend is emerging.

In line with technological advances, brands have added another level to packaging design. Forget sprays, pens and whistles, the people want digital.

Check out our run-through of the next big thing in second-life packaging. Are these modifications just headline-grabbing marketing tools or do they really add value? We weigh in.

1. Pizza box projector

First off, we have the Blockbuster Box. Capitalising on our penchant for greasy pizza in front of film, Dominoes brought the two even closer together. On the face of it, the idea appears both fun and well-executed. Simply punch out the perforated hole in the front of the box, insert the lens and you’ve got yourself a projector.

Unfortunately the projector isn’t as impressive it seems. On closer inspection it’s little more than a magnifying glass. The combination pizza divider/phone stand is smart idea, but who really wants to put their iPhone inside an empty pizza box?

2. Kit Kat hologram

Who knew Kit-Kat was such a hit in Japan? Thanks to a fortunate pun, ‘kitto Katsu (which means ‘Will surely win!’ in Japanese), the chocolate bar is all the rage among Japanese teens.

In true Japanese futuristic style, the hologram uses small sheets of plastic to form a pyramid pop-up screen. Designed for students up late and revising hard, it aims to provide a small window of respite during those lonely hours.  

If the technology really works, we can’t fault this one.

3. McDonald’s VR headset

VR’s been on the menu for some time. Now that we’ve finally got a release date for Google’s Oculus Rift, it looks more brands are jumping on the bandwagon. Cue McDonald’s latest foray into intelligent packaging design.

Reserved only for the Swedish market, the promotion allows kids to turn their Happy Meal boxes into virtual-reality viewers, aptly-named “Happy Goggles”. With a ski-themed VR game, it’s Scandi-heaven.

In our view it’s a great, creative use of packaging. Aimed at younger consumers too, it’s a simple way to get children thinking about waste and reuse. We’d only hope that McDonald’s brings the idea over here. And that more brands start getting savvier about second-life packs.

Want to know more about the emerging trends, or find out how we've helped others create packaging that's sustainable and innovative? Give us a call on 01272 202382 or email us at