Entertainment Packaging Creates an Experience

Posted on

Derrick Lin


Written by Michael DiFranco, VP of Marketing at JohnsByrne

The entertainment industry doesn’t sell tangible items – it sells an experience. Consumer expectations are far beyond the traditional use of promotional materials and packaging. Unlike any other industry, the entertainment industry needs more than just a functional packaging design, it needs packaging that will entice and transport consumers into a different world – a world created by a movie, a TV show or video game.

Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by Emily Hendricks

Why Entertainment Packaging Matters for Consumers
From collectible DVDs and CDs to video games, entertainment packaging must do more than simply hold or protect the contents inside. Why? Consumers have high expectations for how their favorite movie, television series or music should be packaged. Packaging, in this case, has to live up to these expectations while respecting the brand and creating a unique experience that is reminiscent of exactly what consumers have come to love about the their favorite characters or series.

Oftentimes, consumers wait months for a new release or a collectible to be available. The anticipation and excitement must be met with an impressive, high-quality packaging design that they will be proud to display and share with family and friends.

Long gone are the days of plain sleeve packaging. Today’s packaging for entertainment must be visually impactful, true to the brand, and a tactile and visual experience for the consumer.

7 Things to Consider When Creating Entertainment Packaging
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to creating the perfect packaging for a CD, collection, DVD, or video game. When sitting in the design room or working with a promotional materials team, it’s important to remember this: You create the memory, the packaging recreates the experience. To create an experience with entertainment packaging, consider these 7 critical questions that will ensure you meet consumer expectations and build loyalty.

Is it Memorable?
This is a hard question to ask, and in some cases, it’s even more difficult to answer. While keeping it safe and doing the expected can work, it may not do justice to the movie or TV series itself. And that is something consumers will notice. When choosing entertainment packaging, avoid run-of-the-mill designs, flat paper bindings, and generic boxes. Get creative. Consumers need to associate emotion with your packaging so that it does not end up in the garbage. This is possible with specialty designs, interactive packaging, and unique structural designs. A unique structure, for example, can make your collection, movie or video game stand out on a crowded shelf. It also makes it gift-worthy and – most importantly – something that consumers will want to show off and keep indefinitely.

It is as Exciting as the Memory?
The package must complement its contents. Often times, they are both considered one in the same. If the packaging does not deliver first impressions, the consumer will likely be disillusioned, potentially leading to lost sales and revenue. After all, who is going to get excited about a plain, boring box? Experiences are sensory, provoking memories, sounds, moods, and emotions. Entertainment packaging is responsible for recreating such responses. The addition of textures, lenticular accents, and holograms can be used to create an exciting experience for consumers, engaging them to interact and perhaps relive the memories.

Is it Interactive?
Interactive packaging directly links the consumer with the product, creating a relationship between the two. When a consumer can interact with the packaging, they are likely to spend more time with it. This works in two ways: by creating a visual memory of the experience, and by creating a sensory memory of the materials. The brain and the hands work together to enjoy the packaging and remember it longer. Interactive packaging can include flaps that open, hidden sleeves, folders, and booklets. The more interactive the packaging, the more of a time commitment you’ll get from the consumer. When you wow your consumer, they keep coming back for the experience.

Binova at Eurocucina DVD by ZUP ASSOCIATI

Is it Highly Visible?
Sure, you can see any packaging, but is it really being SEEN? Or, is the packaging easily dismissed? The packaging must stand out above all other packaging experiences. Visibility plays a large role in its success. It is crucial for the entertainment industry that game, music, and movie releases capture the audience’s attention immediately, and packaging that is not visible stands no chance in capturing the curiosity of consumers.

To ensure maximum visibility, it’s important to maximize the use of visual elements. Specialty coatings such as mirror-like finishes, foils, or even bold colors demand attention. Whatever mood or emotion you are trying to evoke, there’s a complementary specialty coating that will make for a visually impactful presence.

Is it in Line with Your Message?
Creativity and a solid understanding of your brand is essential for this question. You can’t speak about experiences and memories without considering how that message may affect overall brand loyalty. The value of the packaging, whether it be monetary or personal, has to reflect your brand’s message and what it represents. This is especially important if your brand is immediately recognizable by loyal fans. Your packaging must operate in the same way and capture your brand’s goals and message. Whether it’s a mysterious or vivacious personality, packaging must uphold these brand characteristics through packaging that resonates with consumers.

Wear Any Clothes Just As Long As They’re Bright by Eve Warren

Is the Quality of Your Packaging Sufficient?
Durable packaging endures shipping, it lasts over time, it protects the product inside longer than traditional packaging, and it ensures the memories of the experience will live on for months or years. Durability also speaks to your brand image as well. Cheap is not an experience that provokes excitement and exceptional experiences. So, if packaging is flimsy and appears to be poorly made, the consumer assumption is that the product – and the image – is cheap too. When creating a durable entertainment package, contain the experience for years with hard shells, laminate protections, and skillfully crafted structures.

Soulfinger – Life, Love & Passion by USSO

Will The Consumer Want More?
Let’s be honest. There are some memories and experiences you like to remember, and there are others you’d like to forget. Your product and its packaging must create the desire and need for more to entice your consumers to return. Not only is this achieved with memorable covers and art, but it is possible in the very design and quality of the packaging, too. Give the people what they want with deluxe sets and box sets that offer additional gems and hidden compartments that encourage them to want more.

The entertainment industry invites consumers to take a journey with their productions and their brands. The way your brand packages its products must feel like a personal invitation. Packaging the experience properly creates memories and memorabilia that tease the consumer for years to come, inviting them to return again and again for another experience they are confident your brand can deliver.

All images and artworks are copyrighted by their respective authors.

About the author
Michael DiFranco serves as the VP of Marketing at JohnsByrne. Celebrating its 56th year of operations, JohnsByrne Company is a custom packaging and print solutions provider catering to major brands in health & beauty, food and beverage,  and consumer products. With a culture built around innovation, quality, design and speed, their offerings span value added folding cartons, specialty packaging and high impact direct mail. To learn more about these and other services, visit http://www.johnsbyrne.com/.