The Making of a Box Program
Our (Amazon’s) internal box team came to us and asked the team to envision how brands could take part in a back to school program. The window of opportunity was closing in fast to get the boxes to production before the Back To School season so we started to explore how a brand takeover, and then a 50/50 share of voice box would look.
WHO ITS FOR
This branded box would go out to Amazon customers who purchased any product during August - September, so although this is a big shopping time for families getting back to school supplies, there were no targeting capabilities.
BEYOND THE BOX
While envisioning this box experience, we wanted to make the branded box useful for our customers. Since they were already potentially shopping for school supplies, we decided to turn the box into something fun, crafty, and usable, this came in the form of: puzzles and crosswords, cut out school shopping lists, a “give-back-box”, and a pencil case.
To appeal to a broad range of advertisers and reduce the number of moving parts in an already accelerated timeline, we created a concept featuring Sharpie that would drive to an online experience using an Amazon Smilecode. Kellogg’s bought into the experience and decided to feature three of their snack brands: Rice Krispies, Pringles, and Cheez It’z.
To stay aligned with any other Amazon Back to School efforts we used a pastel color pallet and the Amazon Ember font. The visual share of voice of this campaign was divided 50/50 by Amazon and Kellogg’s so I illustrated icons that were both Kellogg’s snack specific and general when it came to back to school items.
WORKING WITH (NOT AGAINST) OUR MEDIUM
To make the box affordable we went with a direct-print style of printing that would (as its name infers) print directly on the box. While it is a great way to make a lot of boxes faster and cheaper, the downside is that each color is printed separately so there are margins for error where, say outlines won’t matchup with the fill. I decided to work with the printing constraints and use them as a strength instead of against them (much to the printers relief). By designing the icons and text to be offset and limiting the icons detail, it allowed there to be room for error so mistakes on the printing plate or press would be easily hidden and not a show stopper.
Most of the icons in an outlined minimalist style were pretty recognizable: a backpack? Of course. Pencils, paper plane, and Pringles? We know those shapes from anywhere! But when it came to Rice Krispies… It was a box, or a sponge, or a brick.
THE RICE KRISPIES BOUDOIR
The first iteration of Rice Krispies, or as we called them, the “maggoty bricks” version looked like Rice Krispies if you knew what you were looking for, but if not, they were pinkish bricks with little white flecks in them. While we could lean a bit on the Rice Krispies logo being on there largest side of the box, we wanted the icon to have a bit more free-standing recognition.
Thus began the Rice Krispies Boudoir Session. It definitely felt a little weird, but after running to the store and getting a box of the goods, I began to unwrap the Rice Krispies to certain stages and sketching them to see which stage of undress had the most recognition. After a ton of sketches we came to a solution and just added the stipulation that this icon would always stay blue while the other ones varied in color (since blue = Rice Krispies of course).
The final icons consisted of the three brands and school classics like paper planes, a globe, clock, backpack, as well as new additions to the school room like tablets.
Simplicity was key when deciding on the CX. We used the box for both general awareness and to drive customers to a Kellogg’s snack landing page to shop their favorites via an Amazon Smilecode.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
With the press check behind me and very few alterations press-side; the boxes were printed, sent to distribution centers and then packed with goods and mailed to Amazon customers at the beginning of August.
Since the design of this program, the specs and learnings have already led to many similar projects in the future.
Creative Lead/Art Director & Illustrator