Tag Archives: toy packaging

The 5 Biggest Toy Packaging Mistakes

The 5 Biggest Toy Packaging Mistakes

Our team has worked on literally thousands of individual toys & games, and across all these products the area where we have seen the most mistakes is most definitely in the packaging.

Packaging is a crucial part of the marketing mix, because often consumers won’t see your advertising. But in store and online they will see your packaging, and therefore, packaging is the fundamental foundational pillar of all toy & game marketing.

Good packaging doesn’t make a bad product good, but it does make it more likely to sell!

Here are the 5 most common mistakes we have observed over time with toy & game packaging:


  1. Functional failure

Often times toy companies spend a lot of time on the graphic design of their packaging, but typically leave the structural engineering of the packaging to the factory. This can be a costly mistake. In the last 12 months we have worked on about a dozen toys & games that had a fundamental packaging structural design issue. Issues observed have included packaging that is supposed to stand up on shelf, so that the store can just put product free standing on shelf. Due to either too small a base footprint or due to an inherently unstable packaging structure, several products would not stand up on shelf, which means that they would fall over on shelf either falling off shelf or sprawling over the display space looking bad. This is such an easy thing to fix! Packaging should have a solid base so it can stand up if that is how the product is to be merchandised. #basics!


  1. Failure to effectively, clearly and overtly communicate key product features & benefits

Packaging is a marketing tool. The packaging should clearly show a cool product with emphasis on compelling features and benefits. On a recent project we purchased some competitor samples to compare with the products of our client. One of the products from a major toy company (who shall remain nameless to spare their blushes!) was a really good product with a best-in-class TVC. However, the product was completely cocooned in a weird packaging design which probably meant to be intriguing like an upscale blind bag, but with the only text aside from the logo being a multitude of copyright lines and legal lines in different languages it was not clear what the product was, what it did or why the child should want it! That scores 0/10. Before trying to be too clever, packaging designers should be distilling down the key selling points to communicate clearly what they are – either in text or with images. Children are very basic creatures compared with adults – subtlety is not a formula for success typically with toy & game packaging aimed at children.


  1. Failing to protect the product inside sufficiently

Packaging exists in the first place to protect the product inside from damage and wear and tear in transit/while on display in retail. Therefore, above all packaging should protect the product inside. There are plenty of examples of packaging which has failed to protect the product, just go into any retail store and you will find examples of someone getting this wrong. Sometimes it is due to cost stripping, but the bigger picture view makes it clear that there is no point saving a couple of cents if the product is not then saleable.


  1. Failing to use all the space available

The prevailing merchandising of products varies from country to country. For instance, I was greatly surprised the first time I visited a department store in Germany because due to the number of board games on sale, the products were not merchandised showing the major space & communication point of the front of the box. Instead, just the end or the side of the box was on display, and therefore those games which communicated more on the end and sides of the box sold better!


  1. Failing to stand out on shelf

One of the greatest challenges in a market full of competitive products is achieving standout. When you walk an aisle in a toy specialist retail store you are met with a visual explosion of colour. It takes skill and design nous to create packaging which stands out in such a ‘loud’ visual setting.


Do you need help to understand the toy & game business? We help people from all around the world to understand and successfully enter the toy business. For more information on how we do this, check out our services here: www.KidsBrandInsight.com/services


Have you listened to our Playing At Business podcast? We talk about selling toys & games, interview successful people from across the toy business & we look at key trends in the toy & game business: https://playingatbusiness.libsyn.com/


Toy Packaging: 5 Key Success Factors

Toy Packaging: 5 Key Success Factors

One of the most critical factors in the success or failure of a new toy or game is the packaging. Packaging is such a fundamental part of both the product and the marketing effort. Often companies are too rigid in their packaging formats, and fail to take advantage of the opportunity to innovate to command cleaner space in store and online and to achieve visual standout to deliver impact and increased sales.

Here are 5 Key Success Factors for toy and game packaging:

1. Stretch And Re-Invent The Packaging Format – One of the most successful products our team worked on was a big cumbersome box which shipped into a non-traditional retail environment which didn’t allow for easy merchandising of this item. Because of this the product ended up stacked along the queue for the checkouts and became a big sell-out hit with this particular store chain because of the high visibility created by a packaging format which was not designed for that kind of store. Another classic example of changing the packaging format to deliver significant and sustained success would be Bananagrams, this game delivered in a quirky banana coloured and shaped pack format had to be merchandised differently versus standard sized square and rectangular board game boxes which could easily be squeezed onto the established planogram.

2. Clarity Of Communication – this is one of the most important factors. Your packaging should help to convey a number of things – clearly – to both parents and children. What is the product, what does it do, why is it fun, why is it better or different from so many other products out there you could buy, what are the key features of the product, who is the target age/demographic for the game…we could go on and list many more questions, but the reality is that packaging needs to communicate a lot and it needs to do it clearly. The word esoteric means ‘intended to be understood by only a small number of people’, unless you only want to sell to a small number of people don’t make your packaging esoteric! Make it so obvious that it clearly communicates to even the dumbest or most distracted person what it is, what it does and why they might want to buy it!

3. Display & Demonstrate Key Product Features – this factor could be simply typified by 2 words: TRY ME. Ok, that may or not be on the packaging, it may be on the product, but the packaging needs to prominently display the TRY ME feature and action button. If a product is fun, noisy or flashy, and if it can show that off while still in the box, then TRY ME becomes a powerful sales driver for physical retail as kids will pick up the product, try it & want it. If your product can’t be operated in the pack, but still has some striking physical features then show them! Window boxes and blister packs are the classic executions of this.

4. Save Detail For The Back Or Side Of Pack – whether it is on shelf in a physical store or on an e-commerce site, there are usually plenty of opportunities to share necessary details. The front of the packaging should SELL the product. If you don’t sell product you don’t have a business, so if you need to put legals on the back, side or on a tag in tiny font so be it. The front of pack, or front of product – whatever is facing the customer – is sacrosanct & every line of text or image needs to be working to sell the product.

5. Make Robust Packaging – I once managed a good-sized toy brand which had a low-price version of the main product line. The low-priced range though was so ‘value engineered’ that it was effectively not usable because most of the time the product failed to get on shelf without suffering significant damage. The product line bombed and worse than that actually affected sales of the main line for 2 years or so because we lost retail and consumer support. If the product is likely to look crappy and damaged on shelf or when it arrives through the post then you are not going to achieve good sales, or at least you might do but you’ll get lots of returns and bad reviews. Just don’t let really basic issues jeopardise your success – like tatty shrink-wrap or cardboard pack structures which clearly are not going to stay robust against being banged about in transit or are not going to withstand a child clumsily and heavily grabbing the product.

There are many more critical factors in creating compelling packaging, but this article lists just a few of the things to consider.


We work with some great packaging and printing suppliers, in China, India and elsewhere. For more information please feel free to drop us a line, or visit our Toy business Consultancy website: www.KidsBrandInsight.com