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"WeListen" Blog

Frito-Lay Takes Personalized Packaging to a New Level with Snackable Notes

Consumer packaging—including food packaging—has always been a sort of “canvas.” 

Man painting on a canvas.

From the earliest days of consumer packaged goods, brands learned that they could use the packaging that encased their products to market to and engage with consumers. Technology has expanded the possibilities tremendously, and packaging manufacturing has also developed to allow fun, limited-edition packaging designs to engage consumers further.

Frito-Lay recently used limited-edition packaging to engage a key consumer demographic for its snack-sized bags of chips: parents of kids going back to school.

Staying Connected to Kids—No Technology Required

Parents putting encouraging notes into kids’ lunches is nothing new, but Frito-Lay seized what they saw as a prime opportunity to encourage parents to engage with their kids by reserving part of the packaging of the individual units in their variety packs for parents to personalize.

A section of the packaging, about the size of a sticky note, was left blank for parents to personalize with their own encouraging notes to their kids as they went back to the classroom for the new school year. And the company was able to do it with their normal package film, with help from their regular print vendors.

The response was highly positive, with great engagement on social media and significant positive feedback from consumers about the “snackable notes.” 

Limited Edition Packaging Popular

Limited edition packaging is in many instances considered as an important brand strategy, stimulating short-term sales and prompting a certain degree of “fear of missing out” on the part of consumers. Brands use limited edition packaging for many occasions, including holidays and tie-ins with celebrity endorsements. Frito-Lay seized the “occasion” of back-to-school time.

City view with large Christmas balls on display.

In addition to Frito-Lay’s back-to-school packaging for its chips, other examples of successful limited edition packaging designs have included:

  • Pepsi cans from 2012 that featured the late Michael Jackson
  • Optical illusion boxes of Scotch Magic Tape that made the box containing five rolls of tape appear empty
  • Oscar de la Renta limited edition solid versions of their perfume Esprit d’Oscar packaged inside a fancy flower ring

Packaging Technology Allows Greater Flexibility Than Ever

Packaging technology makes it easier for brands to experiment with packaging designs, whether the designs are part of the brand’s permanent collection, or part of a limited-edition release. Frito-Lay’s “snackable notes” were perfectly targeted to a strong consumer demographic and helped parents engage with their school-bound kids while increasing the parents’ engagement with the brand.

It doesn’t always take Herculean efforts to produce limited edition packaging that taps a key demographic or acknowledges a holiday or upcoming event. The idea of this type of special packaging should be part of a brand’s idea collection when considering their packaging designs. As was the case with Frito-Lay, the special packaging may only require working with print vendors to incorporate the designs into existing packaging materials.

“Snackable notes” is just one successful idea for what brands can do to use the “canvas” of their packaging to entice and engage consumers, and with today’s technologies, the possibilities are almost limitless. Special packaging designs have long been popular, and for many brands, they are well worth considering as part of their branding ideas portfolio. 

PKG Brand Design is always on the forefront of new CPG branding and packaging initiatives; please subscribe to our blog for the latest package design industry news!


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