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Ads & Packaging: A Way To Save On Shipping?

Marketing is often an experimental art and it doesn’t always go over well when placed in an unconventional location.

For example, when dotcom companies branded people with their logos as “living billboards” in the early to mid 2000s, it was ultimately chalked up to a failed experience despite websites sometimes spending tens of thousands of dollars for a single tattoo advertisement.

A new approach that’s gaining some traction is a little less controversial, but just as experimental: printing advertisements on shipping boxes.

Can You Save Money By Selling Ad Space?

Large organizations like the United States Postal Service and Amazon have danced with the idea of adding branding to their packaging.

The cost for a single brand to advertise on these shipping boxes was steep, but it was also not without risk. Even though consumers spend much more time opening a package than they would looking at a website with branded messages, people still don’t expect to see advertising on a box.

One of two things became serious risks right away: Either people would ignore the ads since they weren’t expected, or they would be turned off by the ads because packaging, much like the human body, has never been a vehicle for marketing.

Despite the risks, there could be a huge boon to jumping into package advertising now, before everyone is doing it. Not only would a properly placed, properly priced package imprint potentially draw a lot more eyes due to the sheer novelty, advertising on innocuous areas like packing tape is slowly becoming the norm for the Internet’s eCommerce giant, Amazon.

This could be an incredible way to offset your shipping costs, if you can convince other companies that your shoppers are also their own demographic and likely to buy something due to the cross-exposure.

Of course, there will be additional costs involved in having these custom ads designed and printed, so you’ll need to account for that when pricing your spots. A good 3rd party logistics firm with a print shop could create these ads for you, potentially reducing costs and certainly reducing headaches. 

What if Nobody Bites?

For smaller SMBs, it may be difficult to convince a bigger brand or even a local company to contribute to your carton marketing, but don’t despair.

Your shipping boxes are also great places to advertise your own products and services. Why not? You already own the space and the cost of printing small logos or marketing messages can be affordable. While this won’t reduce your shipping costs upfront, it may encourage existing customers to spend more with you or create awareness about a little-utilized service.

Even though it’s hard to know what the future holds for packaging advertisements, they’re certainly worthy of experimentation. Unlike human billboards, packaging imprints aren’t permanent and can be pretty budget-friendly if done correctly. The trick will be to design ads that are not only targeted to your audience, but somehow trackable so you know which pieces are hitting hard and which need to be replaced.

July 20, 2017
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