Millennials have more power than ever these days when it comes to purchasing power. When they buy a product, they expect the whole package (including the packaging!).

We know the feeling of walking down the grocery aisles and becoming overwhelmed by all the choices and options in every direction. Any product we search for in an ideal world would fulfill all demands on our checklist, but unfortunately, this is far from reality. Instead, we face shelves full of choices, and then we’re forced to narrow them down.

So, then as the options expand, this gives millennials more buying criteria to consider. This means that manufacturers must create innovative packaging that appeals to millennials, and this is the key to breaking down the barrier, winning over the next Gen Y dollar.

Some tools to engage millennials in the packaging process are:

Create limited edition packaging

Offering limited editions gives the millennial generation a sense of exclusivity and feeling of prestige, two important factors in the marketing realm. This process enables brands to stay current with seasonal and promotional events. An example of this is when Diet Coke created a Taylor Swift collector’s edition can in celebration of individuality. For the 2012 Olympics in London, Coca-Cola created aluminum bottles for a limited time featuring the Olympic logo and colors.

Other brands have used limited edition packaging in conjunction with philanthropic endeavors such as breast cancer awareness. Campbell’s Soup offered limited edition pink and white labeled cans in support for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Support sustainability

Research has shown that 55 percent of millennials are more likely to develop a positive image of a company if they are engaged in cause marketing. An example of this is the creation of eco-friendly packaging techniques or organic products.

One household cleaning product brand, Method, created bottles made with ocean plastic and recycled plastic. This won the company editor’s choice in the 2013 Dieline Package Design Awards for sustainability and aesthetic appeal.

Bring something new

Millennials are often early adopters of new ideas and looks for the next big idea. They want brands that will quickly adapt to rapidly evolving needs and wants, and importantly, convenience.

The company BANDiful recognized the common challenge of using only one hand to apply bandages. It added a functional benefit by designing a bandage product that avoids extra steps in unwrapping bandages.

Personify or personalize your packaging

Many millennials look for human elements in the brands they patronize. They often see brands as people with personalities. Packaging that caters to this human element tell a unique story that highlights the brand’s value.

One great example of this is Absolut Vodka’s Absolut Unique collection that features four million unique bottles, giving each bottle their own “personal identity” as it were. This allowed customers a special buying experience that gave them the opportunity to pick a bottle that matched their own personality.

In Studies & Trends—October 2018, Edelman conducted a brand study and found the following:

  • 59% of all consumers in the U.S. believe that brands have better ideas for solving our country’s problems than our government
  • A majority (60 percent) of respondents say brands should make it easier to see what their values and positions on important issues are when they are about to make a purchase
  • 56 percent of people believe that marketers spend too much time looking for ways to force them to pay attention to their messages and not enough time thinking of ways to make them want to pay attention
  • At 45 percent, a brand communication delivered on earned media — a combination of social and mainstream media – was more successful in engaging consumers’ attention than paid advertising (29 percent) and owned media (25 percent)

Social Movements Good Night Out #nowyougno

  • Produced by Yellow Dog BrewingMoody AlesTwin Sails Brewing, and Parkside Brewery
  • Each can unique
  • Variable Data: 75 messages that 75 different messages, with reminders that “consent is ongoing, enthusiastic, and mandatory” printed on every can of Good Night Out
  • Imbibers were encouraged to share images of their cans using the hashtag #nowyougno on Instagram
  • 4 packs were sold for $16.50
#nowyougno campaign
Good Night Out Campaign graphic

Festivals-19th Annual Schlafly Stout & Oyster Festival

  • Special Schlafly Oyster Stout produced that was complementary to the oysters’ briny buttery taste.
  • 80,000 Oysters flown in for the event from different areas for a variety of flavors
  • 25 champion shuckers competed
  • In recognition of all the hard work the shuckers do each year, Schlafly honored eight shuckers with their pictures and profiles on the cans of the Oyster Stout.
  • Social media spike for the brand
Oyster Stout Campaign Cans

Millennials are a hard and tricky generation to crack, but if you do, the rewards are potentially massive, and using the earlier mentioned tools to engage millennials will help increase a brand’s market share and sales. Traco Packaging can help you do this by helping you create original limited editions to reach your millennial audience. To get your limited edition project started now, contact Traco Packaging at 800-284-9727/801-225-8040 or visit