Sometimes the worse it is, the better it is.

By Hannah Young, Creative Copywriter

I collect copy. Mostly packaging copy. I’ve got a Pinterest board full of envy-inducing examples. And my phone’s camera roll is littered with odds and ends I find when I’m out and about. I’m a word nerd, so I love how brands choose to fill the gaps on their products. There’s a lot of potential in those blank spaces. After all, Innocent’s renowned tone of voice famously began with one of the founders filling some space on a smoothie bottle.

But I have an even bigger problem. I get a particular buzz from bad packaging copy. I can’t explain it, but there’s something thrilling about uncovering a peculiar turn of phrase on the back of your packet of crisps or can of cider. (And then probably tweeting about it.)

I find myself reading everything. Especially in the bathroom. Hand soap bottles. Air freshener cans. Packs of toilet roll. Toothpaste tubes. Nothing is safe. I read every word. All the way down to sodium lauryl ethel sulphate in pursuit of a hidden message. After all, the test of a good tone of voice is in how it approaches its small print.

That’s why I firmly believe good intentions lie in packaging copy. At least they’ve tried! But there is such a thing as trying too hard...

Here are a few examples of dodgy copy I’ve found that made me smile for all the wrong reasons.

I was already pickled in cider when I read this at Bestival so I took a photo and reread it sober. It made even less sense...

I broke a plate when I washed up with this...

‘There is such a thing as taking it too far, you know’...

Brand purpose is something we do a lot of at Superdream – basically helping brands tell people about what they do and why they do it. Here’s a great example of a brand that almost got it…then leapt straight into what The Human Half eloquently calls the Twatosphere (this product is a pet comb)...

I think Linda was after some free toilet paper...

Said no one ever...

But when packaging is done right, it’s the perfect place for brands to say a little more to people. If someone’s reading your packaging, you’ve got a valuable window to make a bit more of a connection with them. It might just be the nudge they need to pop it in their shopping basket rather than back onto the shelf.

Here’s a smattering of particularly palatable packaging...

And finally, a shameless plug. Here are some bottles of BBQ sauce and hot sauce we did for mac and cheese restaurant, Holy Moly...

If nothing else, your packaging copy might prompt someone to take a picture and write a blog about it...

Posted by:

Hannah Young

Creative Copywriter

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