10 Bad Packaging Fails You Won’t Believe Exist

Packaging. How hard can it be to get it right? Actually, it happens all the time. Just take a look at these designs that went viral for all the wrong reasons…

We take packaging seriously at Packaging Supplies. We’ve been doing it for over 40 years, so we know our stuff. We work with clients all around the world to provide or design top-notch custom boxes

Unfortunately, not everyone takes packaging as seriously (or sustainably!) as we do. Whether they’re completely inaccessible, bamboozling or wrap-rage-inducing, bad packaging is everywhere. Let’s take a whistle-stop tour of some truly puzzling packages that’ll leave you scratching your head. 

Related: Accessible Packaging and What It Means for Your Customers

Packaging Fail 1: Merry Easter?

Packaging Fail 1

We don’t really get this one. Did the easter bunny take the wrong shift? Maybe the easter bunny has been Father Christmas this entire time. What’s the lesson here? Trust is everything. Otherwise, you’ll be giving out non-stop refunds and damaging your credibility because you misled your customer. Consumers are far more likely to buy from brands they have built a trusting relationship with. 

Packaging Fail 2: Let Me Get My… Oh, Wait?

Packaging Fail 2

You buy scissors because you need them to cut something, but you need to cut the packaging to get the scissors out. It’s like Inception — with scissors. The takeaway? Inaccessible packaging is a huge-turn off for consumers. Opt for the ease factor so they can open their packaging without a fuss.

Packaging Fail 3: Crying Out for More Crisps

Packaging Fail 6

We’re sorry if this is a familiar sight, but it’s one we can all relate to. You open your favourite salty snack, only to find there are half of them missing. On the surface, this might seem like a case of misleading the consumer, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

Nitrogen is commonly used in crisp packets and other dried food packaging to keep food fresh and prolong its shelf life — so it’s not just air in there. But there’s another reason for all that space. Crisp manufacturers don’t want you to receive your crunchy delicacies all broken up, so they leave extra space to cushion them on their journey to the retailer. Think of it like an airy void fill

Related: Why Is Nitrogen Gas Used in Food Packaging?

Packaging Fail 4: How Is This Supposed to Stay Sealed?

Packaging Fail 4

We’re not sure how you’re supposed to keep this one fresh. A mistake has clearly been made here, which just emphasises how important it is to keep on top of quality control on the assembly line. 

Packaging Fail 5: Confusion about What’s on Offer

Packaging Fail 5

It’s the age-old question: cats or dogs? Personally, we think this is a really weird-looking dog.

Jokes aside, double-check your branding and packaging to make sure it’s right. On-brand, well-designed sustainable packaging can drive more sales for your business, but packaging fails like this one will only confuse shoppers.

Packaging Fail 6: Plastic Problems…

Packaging Fail 3

Eco-friendly packaging is more in demand now than it has ever been. Consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious in their purchasing decisions, with many finding excessive plastic packaging immensely frustrating and unnecessary. With the UK government introducing more stringent measures — such as the plastic bag tax and the plastic packaging tax — plastic is becoming a thing of the past. 

In October 2023, the government is also banning single-use plastics, so by choosing environmentally friendly packaging, you’ll end up saving money in the long run. 

Related: The Rising Cost of Plastic Packaging: Alternatives You Can Start Using Today

Packaging Fail 7: Waste Lots, Want Not.

Packaging Fail 7

There’s one particular online retailer that’s rather infamous for using too much packaging for small items. There’s even a Twitter account about it. This customer is one of many annoyed about all this unnecessary packaging. Really, this item could’ve gone in a cardboard mailing envelope (or a book wrap mailer for multi-depth size options). You don’t want to confuse or irritate your customers, especially in this world of social media. 

Packaging Fail 8: False Advertising

Packaging Fail 8

Don’t give your customers less in a new product and lie that they’re getting more. This will destroy trust in your brand. Your customers aren’t idiots, so don’t take them for a ride. They’ll do their research. If you’ve misled your customers with false advertising, they’ll question your authenticity and transparency and are less likely to buy from you again.

Packaging Fail 9: Misleading Promises, Bad Packaging

Packaging Fail 9

Ready to eat… but you have to cut them up first if you want to get the advertised number of servings. There are just three sausage rolls in this package — it only becomes a twelve-pack when the customer makes the effort to cut them into smaller pieces. 

But where does this end? You could cut each sausage roll into ten tiny pieces, but that doesn’t mean you have a 30-pack. Make sure you check your shelf-ready packaging to avoid misleading consumers.

Related: A Guide to Shelf-Ready Packaging: Boosting Sales for Retail Products

Packaging Fail 10: Blatant Lies

Packaging Fail 10

Let’s face it, this ain’t no extra virgin olive oil. It’s basically all sunflower oil (90%). The biggest, clearest typeface — designed to be easily seen from afar — on this bad packaging design reads “extra virgin olive oil”. But it’s not. Being transparent with your customers is paramount. Otherwise, they’ll go to a competitor, and you can bet you’ve lost their trust too.

Bad Packaging: What Can We Learn?

Through these examples of bad packaging designs and concepts, we can see where certain companies have let consumers down:

  • Accessibility
  • Trust
  • Transparency
  • Limited waste
  • Sustainability 

Alongside an eye-catching design, these five factors can make or break your packaging — especially sustainability. But you need to be careful about how you represent your brand — transparency and sustainability go hand in hand. It can be even more detrimental to your business if you mislead consumers by “greenwashing”. Be authentic with sustainable packaging that stands out.

Avoid bad packaging and go eco in the process with a free custom packaging quote from us today.