The design of winning packaging requires careful structural and aesthetic studies. Nonetheless, it is possible to achieve excellent communication and sales results by focusing mainly on the surprise effect that packaging can generate. However, surprising consumers in a market saturated with products is not always a simple undertaking. This is where cross-category packaging comes into play.

It is impossible to discuss the infinite approaches for creating brilliant packaging solutions in a single article, however, we would like you to see some original examples that could stimulate your imagination and allow you to break the mold and win the consumers’ attention in a completely new way.

Cross-category packaging consists of boxes that are commonly associated with a particular type of product but are instead used to contain something entirely different. A practical example is that of the milk carton: wherever you go, if you happen to see a milk crate, you expect it to contain milk. But what if it doesn’t? You’d be encountering a perfect example of cross-category packaging

Cross-category packaging is a choice that can depend on both functional reasons and specific marketing strategies.

In addition, a package typically associated with a certain product could contain something commonly consumed with it. Cereals or biscuits, for example, could fill milk cartons since they’re commonly consumed with, well, milk! On the other hand, the link between the product and the conventional purpose of its packaging could be completely absent. In fact, cross-category packaging is meant to break from the mainstream and capture consumers’ attention with its eccentricity. Imagine finding cans of tuna in the IT department of a store: perhaps you’d be a bit surprised. You’d immediately notice the abnormality of the situation. Now, imagine yourself inspecting one of those tuna cans only to find out that they contain a pair of headphones. This is exactly why some brands decide to employ cross-category packaging.

Scroll down to see our collection of cross-category packaging ideas

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