20 Infuriating Packaging Designs That Are Just Plain Evil

Usually, product packaging does a pretty good job of indicating exactly what you’re going to find inside. But that’s not always the case. Indeed, sometimes it can be misleading, deceptive or just downright infuriating. Whether it’s doing its best to mask its true contents, or simply frustratingly impossible to open, each of these packaging fails will have you tearing your hair out.

The arrival of pizza should signal good times ahead for anyone. So really, it’s even more heinous that this customer might have had his dinner ruined in this way. It could be some of the most deceptive pepperoni pizza packaging of all time. Indeed, there’s probably not even enough pepperoni to spread out evenly yourself.

Who exactly are these companies trying to deceive with their packaging? After all, they’re hardly going to get many return customers from people expecting the hot dog to, you know, match the size of the package. And people in the market for a smaller ’dog? Well, they’ll never know what they could have had.

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We can’t even begin to imagine how swindled the purchaser of this gummy bear cup must feel. Indeed, $2.99 must have felt like a great price for an entire cupful of the sweet treats. But in reality, it’s actually horrendously overpriced. Yes, this really is plain evil.

Well, which is it? Thirty percent bigger, or 40 percent bigger? And what is that even in relation to? Well, if you look very closely you’ll see that the soup boffins at Campbell’s have based their calculations against an original can size of 10.75oz. But both labels can’t be correct, can they? Er, what about if one of the can’s contents is more condensed than the other? Would that work? Who knows!

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This just feels like an absolutely insane waste of cardboard. Rather than having to dupe customers into purchasing your goods, surely it would be easier to just save on packaging costs, and let them know exactly what they’re buying? It would be a lot more honest, anyway.

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This is like selling tin openers encased inside tins, or bottle openers encased inside bottles. After all, if you’re in need of a screwdriver, chances are you don’t have one to gain access to it in the first place. Whoever dreamt up this packaging method might want to take a long, hard look at themselves.

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If you buy this rope and try to climb with it, nobody could blame you. After all, there’s a picture right there of someone using a rope – this rope, for instance – to climb a mountainside. But there, in tiny, almost indecipherable text, is the disclaimer, “Not suitable for climbing.” It’s ropey advertising at its finest.

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Surely the cost in extra packaging here isn’t worth the gains made by fooling customers not wise enough to simply turn it on its side? After all, you’d have thought they’d have at least not made the packaging itself transparent. Either way, this is a pretty mean ploy.

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Who fancies some jumbo shrimp? Well, if you bought this, you’d be out of luck. Nothing says “the customer is number one” like doing this to them, after all. And we can’t imagine many people would be returning to buy more.

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To be fair, maybe this is just the most ingenious marketing technique of all time. After all, nobody would be looking at this thinking, “What stubborn packages are they talking about?” So, it’s either blindingly clever, or hilariously – and frustratingly – ironic. Our money’s on the latter.

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This is misleading at worst, and just plain deceptive at best. Yes, while the packaging says these lights require AA batteries, they actually require AAA. That’s something you won’t find out until you’ve opened it up, though, by which point you’ll probably already have bought the batteries. The rage is palpable.

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This packet of veggie sausage rolls may say “12,” but make sure you read the small print. Yes, it turns out there’s some assembly – or rather, disassembly – required to get to that point. Heck, why not go one step further and say it’s a 24-pack if you cut them into eighths? Or a 48-pack, or a 96-pack…

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Remember, no matter what the big, bold words on packaging say, it’s always worth reading the small print. At least, it is when it comes to something as important as allergies. Indeed, if someone with a gluten intolerance took this misleading brownie at face value, they may come to regret it.

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We hope you weren’t hungry. Which is to say, we hope you weren’t hungry enough to want a wrap the entire length of this packaging. Because, as you’d soon discover on opening it, that’s not what you’re going to get, despite all indications to the contrary. Poor show, Waitrose.

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You can just imagine Dick Dastardly standing in the background sniggering at this. Indeed, it seems like the kind of stupid scheme only a cartoon character could dream up. Because really, who would actually do something as deceptive as this in real life? Well, Kamila Chocolate might.

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Who in their right mind would design a can of radiator coolant with a ring-pull opener? It doesn’t help that it has a metallic green and gold finish, either. You know, just to make sure that someone might mistake it for a can of beer.

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If there’s one way to potentially sully your brand’s reputation, it’s to get stingy with cheese. Step forward, Hillshire Farm. Which company exec decided that this would be a good cost-cutting measure? You just don’t mess with cheese.

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Well, it isn’t an outright lie. There are definitely cranberries in the chocolate. At least, that’s what this company will be arguing in court, if somebody ever decides to sue them for false advertising. Because really, who could ever think that this was acceptable business practice?

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Come on, Colgate. Do you not think this is misleading customers? After all, there’s no way of knowing you’ve been hoodwinked until you’ve opened the packaging. And by that point, it’s too late to do anything about it.

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Sure, the front of the packaging may say that it’s part sunflower oil. But you’ll only know that if you look closely, because that part of the text is tricky to read. And even if you did read it, there’s no mention of how horribly skewed those percentages are. Frankly, this is a bit disingenuous.

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