5 Packaging Design Insights From Viral Marketing (with examples)

Sumedha Gurav

Explaining difficult concepts through simple words.
March 11, 2021

Learn from viral marketing examples by Coca-Cola, Kitkat, Fenty Beauty, and others to gain valuable insights and create packaging designs that go viral!

We’re living in an age of instant gratification. Since the average attention span of a consumer has fallen from 12 seconds to 8, going viral has become a requirement for brands. As a consumer, you might know many viral marketing examples.  

With so many products 'going viral', it seems like an interesting challenge for brands looking to make an impact. However, a challenge for one is an opportunity for another.

One easy way to grab attention is great product design or it's packaging. From Coca Cola’s classic “Share a Coke” campaign to a Pink KitKat, here are 5 unique viral marketing examples.

1. Coca-Cola - Share A Coke Campaign

Coca-Cola ranks as the world's sixth most valuable brand. It knows how to occupy consumer mind share, and innovate continuously with time. In 2012, Coca-Cola launched one of its most viral marketing campaigns in Australia with its marketing agency Ogilvy and Mather.

The “Share A Coke” campaign became instantly popular in the market. Coca-Cola printed the country’s 150 most popular names on its bottle labels instead of its iconic logo. The intent was to create a more personal relationship with the customers and inspire them to share their moments of happiness.

Viral Marketing Example

In Australia alone, the consumption of the beverage went up by almost 7% by young adults.  378,000 custom Coke cans were printed at local Westfield malls across the country.

With 18,300,000+ media impressions, the traffic on their site increased by 870%. Users actively shared the Coca-Cola personalized bottles on social media.

Your Takeaway From This Viral Marketing Example:

From Coca-Cola's campaign, an important lesson is how a small idea can create maximum impact. Similarly, think of how you can personalize your product packaging to get maximum results - and then some. You can also customize packaging artwork to create a limited edition of your products.

2. Chumbak - Quirky Artwork

Chumbak is a classic case of how a clever product artwork can project a small brand into the big leagues. The brand started with souvenirs such as fridge magnets, bobbleheads, stationery and accessories. The products became popular due to it's unique ‘Indian’ touch.

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The couple sold their house for ₹45 Lakhs to fund this business in 2009. Now, they have over 400 varieties of products, and as per reports in 2016-17, they grossed over ₹41 Cr in sales. The brand has grown 300% year-on-year (both online and offline) in the last five years. Furthermore, they have also recently raised  ₹70 Cr from investors.

As a viral brand, Chumbak’s designs and products have become a hit on social media channels. Customers love the varied use of colors, prints and patterns that are so familiar to Indian culture.

Rather than direct advertising, Chumbak is known to involve their audiences in their campaigns. They ran an Instagram campaign where followers self-designed cups. A most noteworthy example is their #bobbymissing campaign for the launch of their Delhi store.

The #bobbymissing campaign hit the mark. Chumbak posted candid images on social media where they had a bestselling character from their bobblehead collection in different cities and events. Hence, this got the audience involved in the campaign’s journey and increased the brand’s awareness.

Your Takeaway From This Viral Marketing Example:

Recognize the market gap and think about how your product can fill it. Differentiation seems to be the key to an excellent viral marketing example. Above all, Chumbak showed how the power of unique artwork can change a brand’s entire financial trajectory.

3. Sony - Walkman In A Water Bottle

Waterproof is one of the most popular features of electronic brands. However, Sony believes in showing rather than telling. For that reason, they are on our list of viral marketing examples.

To really prove their new Walkman is waterproof, they decided to sell it in a packaged bottle of water!

viral advertising examples

"By combining the product with bottled water, we've created a world first — the Bottled Walkman. This simple packaging innovation gave us a unique way to display the product, which instantly demonstrated its benefit," says DraftFCB, Sony’s marketing agency, in a video showcasing the campaign.

The video has over 4.62L views on YouTube. That is more than 10% of New Zealand’s total population, where the campaign originally ran.

As a result, the brand saw an increase in credibility, and for making waves (pun intended) in this industry

Your Takeaway From This Viral Marketing Example:

When you are conceptualizing a viral marketing campaign, focus on your product features. Think of how to elevate those features to the forefront.  It can be a small feature that can make your product go big.

4. Pink KitKat Is The New KitKat

Ruby chocolate, made from ruby cocoa beans, was first created by Swiss chocolatier Barry Callebaut. It has attracted a lot of attention from chocolate connoisseurs across the world. Consequently, Nestle leveraged this opportunity to use it as a new KitKat flavor. It became KitKat's first natural color product in the last 80 years.

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According to Nestle, it offers “a new taste experience, a kind of berry flavor made from the all-natural Ruby cocoa bean with a characteristic pink hue.”

The new flavor has been dubbed the Kit Kat Chocolatory Sublime Ruby. It was first launched in select stores in Japan and South Korea in early 2018. The response to this highly Instagrammable chocolate was phenomenal. The first limited run of 5,000 bars in Japan sold out and even gave rise to a small black market - pink market? - for people reselling it at a markup.

Social media helped elevate its buzz. Mobile-first and trendy Asian women shared their ruby moments. As a result, it gave rise to more than 120 million search results on Google.

Your Takeaway From This Viral Marketing Example:

A big lesson to learn from this viral marketing example is - experiment with your products. Something probably might go hit the target and go viral.  

5. The Fenty Effect

As a recent viral marketing example, you can never go wrong with Rihanna.

Rihanna’s brand Fenty Beauty has brought forth a revolution in the beauty industry. It is tough to single out one product that sets the bar for the brand. Yet, if we have to, it will be the Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation.

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It has a simple and unique design. It also comes in almost 50 shades that are inclusive to women of all types. This kind of detail-orientation has skyrocketed its popularity.

At one point, some media outlets even reported the brand would reach $1 billion before Kylie Jenner’s cosmetic line. Fenty Beauty has made over $568 million in its first year of existence.

"I never could have anticipated the emotional connection that women are having with the products and the brand as a whole. Some are finding their shade of foundation for the first time, getting emotional at the counter. That's something I will never get over."
Rihanna told Time last November.

What propelled the cosmetic brand’s reputation was a post by a customer Krystal Robinson. She has albinism and struggled to get a foundation that suited her skin tone. When she tried Fenty’s range of products, she finally found the perfect foundation. Due to her story, her post blew up on social media and went viral.

In November 2017, Fenty Beauty was named one of the Best Inventions of the Year by Time magazine. This started a chain reaction, now dubbed as the Fenty Effect. Hence, it has led other beauty brands to jump on the bandwagon to launch more inclusive shade ranges. Brands like CoverGirl, Maybelline and Dior have expanded their product lines to include more than 40 shades of foundation.

Your Takeaway From This Viral Marketing Example:

Timing is everything. Be aware of what trends are coming up and what are going down. Recently, the fashion industry has been pushing forth inclusivity. As a result, Fenty’s products found a relevant audience.      

viral marketing example

What Will Make Your Product Go ‘Viral’?  

Above all, consumers today are inundated with choice. Hence, brands also constantly clamor for their attention. As a result, it can be difficult to stand out in this tough market. Although, the ones with the maximum marketing budgets don’t always have to win.

Therefore, with some clever modifications to your packaging artwork, you can drown out the noise and grab instant attention. Also, tell us about your product in the comments below and let’s discuss how it can go viral.

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