A 2017 review of some interesting (ahem) packaging fails

Packaging has the amazing ability to develop a whole host of emotions – anger, laughter, happiness and sadness. It even improves your vocabulary – as you swear so much when you can’t open the damn thing without a chainsaw, hammer or launching it at a wall.

Here at Medoola, we love the fact that packaging stirs up so many emotions and subsequently initiates conversations. One of our favourites from 2017 was when a recruiter complained about her falafel packaging on LinkedIn. She had to use a spoon to force open the supposedly intuitive pack. That one post got 23 comments. Packaging suppliers, consultants (including Neil) and the retailer weighed in – all from one amused, slightly frustrated falafel lover.

So, since we are coming to the end of 2017, we thought that we’d pick out some legendary packaging woes that have certainly ‘packed a punch’ with us.


In 2003, the Daily Telegraph coined the phrase Wrap Rage. According to good old Wikipedia, wrap rage is the anger and frustration caused by over packaged items, especially those that are blister wrapped, heat sealed or clamshell. In fact this type of package is so secure it can even cause injury when you do try and open it with your bear hands. You think a paper cut is bad until you try opening up one of these bad boys – we know that you’ve all been there.

Now we have to admit that some FMCG brand owners have developed ways to make their heat sealed packaging easier to open, but this one below has to be our hands down favourite.

Credit: SilvrSocial.com

Yes Wrap Ragers, this is THE perfect solution to your plastic packaging woes. Just possibly one slight flaw? Or the best example of packaging irony ever?


Even packaging consultants get frustrated with over packaging, especially as we are put under more pressure to find innovative ways to reduce it. So our next example is particularly annoying.

Credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/avocado-halves-pre-peeled_uk_56e84514e4b03fb88ede4b06

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. In 2016 Calavo brought this pack to shelf. Now ok, we know that removing the avocado seed is not only a consumer frustration, but also a very risky business. In fact, this popular brunch ingredient can cause the injury, lovingly named ‘avocado hand’. The Times recently published an article saying injuries have significantly increased in the UK according to surgeons. 

Now we can only think that Calavo were trying to alleviate this, and offer a bit of time saving to their target market. Yet from a packaging perspective, it shouts "too much!!".

In our opinion, the packaging could be half the size and use less protective plastic. Clearly the budget was blown on protecting the product too, as the poor quality materials in the secondary case together with the uninspiring design suggest.

We’ll keep buying ours fresh thanks, or bow down to the genius buyers at M&S who launched a seedless avocado this month (December 2017).


This has to be one of our biggest pet peeves. As a packaging consultant, you sometimes get the vibe that marketing departments and operations are miles apart when it comes to communication. Yet, you would expect that the marketing team would ensure that design and functional packaging would deliver a flawless finish. Not in the case of our next packaging fail from Pampers.

Credit: https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-packaging-fails/

It is so easy to see what went wrong when it’s too late. The designer created flat artwork for approval, the printers printed flat for a press pass, then laser cut the carry handles to improve functionality. But only a true packaging pro would spot the major fail before it went to production. Oh how we giggled like a baby at this one.


When design and functionality creates something so wonderfully useless you get something like a non-transparent drinks bottle with measurements. Don’t get us wrong, this looks great, but the sign off team clearly didn’t think this one through at all.

Credit: https://www.hankermag.com/funny-epic-design-fails/2/

Or when the design brief for this delicious looking FLOOR CLEANER specifies for it to replicate a fruit juice bottle. Something which is hopefully not available in all good retail stores.

Credit: https://www.hankermag.com/funny-epic-design-fails/2/

And finally, when a designer sits back and thinks yes, this looks super cool on screen, but when printed and packaged, actually turns out like this.

Credit: https://www.hankermag.com/funny-epic-design-fails/2/


Credit: http://metro.co.uk/2017/10/04/10-examples-of-ridiculously-pointless-packaging-6976457/

The Metro ran a great piece on pointless packaging in October. All were very valid points, and highlight some major issues within the industry when it comes to secondary packaging legislation, retailers demands and consumer buying habits. These all play a part in the pointless packaging debate, as these multi pack of baked beans highlight.

That’s why we love social media, and we hope that more consumers like this will force change in the industry.


Do you have a packaging fail or frustration? If so, why not become part of the debate by joining our LinkedIn Group PACK-OFF here