Wackaging: the friendly brand era

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March 28, 2016 by Alessio Bartoli

There’s this neologism which came out of the blue a few years ago and started to spread thanks to the word of mouth among marketers. Nowadays it’s even struggling to be added in dictionaries: Collins Dictionary inform its users that the word is not sufficiently established for inclusion yet, but they will continue to monitor it. I’m talking about wackaging, combination of the words wacky and packaging.

Wackaging – It stands for the the cutesy and overly familiar tone of voice used on packaging copy, as if the brand is treating you as a friend or most likely as a child to get your attention. Bagged salads asking “keep me in the fridge”, bananas labelled “eat me”or chocolate asking for you to “take me, taste me, love me” are just some examples of what you can find out there. Brands joke, get close and establish a direct relationship with consumers. Commonly, food is describing itself in the first person.

It all started in United Kingdom and Innocent Drinks seems to be the pioneer.

Innocent DrinksInnocent Drinks made a first appearance on Britain market in 1999 with a new line of smoothies. Someone actually called them talking smoothies because of the wacky and friendly copy on their packs: “drink me!” “I like being chilled!”. With a chatty, familiar tone Innocent Drinks found a way of differentiation from usual formal prose of other packaging.

And now everyone wants “to do an innocent”. Rebecca Nicholson, Guardian journalist who first coined wackaging neologism in 2011, even created a Tumblr page where she collects best case histories. A very suggestive one is from the baby food brand Ella’s Kitchen; the label on one of her product says:

“My Dad made a promise to me and my brother that he would only use stuff in our products that is natural, is pure and helps make us healthy. I told him everything also has to taste great and he agreed! Ella x”

Can you find some more examples? post it down here!


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