Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Secret Messages in Your Packaging: Are Inspirational Wrappers Good Marketing Tools?

It’s that time of year again, everyone. There’s frost on my car in the morning, a chill in the air when I go out for lunch, and oh yeah — the sun is now setting before I leave the office. The only next logical tradition to come about is for me to get a cold.

For the most part, I’m a pretty healthy person. Since I don’t get sick all that often, I turn into the biggest wimp ever when I finally do. We’re talking putting on pajamas as soon I walk through the door after work, curling up in a blanket with chicken noodle soup for supper, and in bed before 9:00 on a weeknight. I hate being sick.

That’s why, when I opened up a freshly-purchased bag of Halls cough suppressants and unwrapped a honey-lemon flavored one to soothe my sore throat, I smiled. There were “Pep Talks in Every Drop” on the wrappers, with little “fire up those engines” and “bet on yourself” quotes. My personal favorite was “you can do it,” because it made me smile after a long day at work feeling like crap. I even thought to myself: “It’s just a cold, I won’t feel like this forever.”

Halls wrappers

Halls wrappers, complete with inspiration.

Naturally, this got me thinking about other companies that embrace the moment when a consumer is holding your packaging and your product separate from each other. The chocolate lovers out there already probably know about the inspirational messages inside of Dove wrappers, but it’s definitely worth mentioning anyway.

On each Dove wrapper is a little short quote or message to read. Some of my personal favorites include:

  • “Every cloud doesn’t mean a storm”
  • “You are the star for which all evenings wait.”
  • “Love without rules”
  • “Sing along with the elevator music”

Sometimes it’s just little things that bring a smile to your face, or maybe even bring back a memory to your mind.

Dove wrappers

Feeling comforted yet?

I think this emotional appeal is very successful for brands. In the Halls example earlier in this post, I was tired, cranky, and worn out by the time I got home from the drug store to buy this year’s supply of cough syrup and cough drops. But that one little pep talk on the wrapper really made an impression on me!

Furthermore, Dove’s inspirational wrapper efforts just seem like a no-brainer. After a stressful and busy day, who doesn’t want to sit down with some chocolate and a glass of wine and read a uplifting quote? Especially since really tasty chocolate (like Dove) is one of those things that you don’t just gobble up. Instead, you savor it and let the flavor and aroma take you away from your troubles and stress of the day – at least, I do.

And how about Snapple? Under each cap is a fact that always makes me say “really?” The great thing about Snapple’s example is how they tie the messages into their website. Under each fact it says, “Get all the ‘real facts’ at,” so naturally, what did I do when I saw that? You guessed it; I visited their website. There you can learn more about how Snapple uses only the best ingredients on Earth (their claim).

Snapple cap

Snapple's "Real Facts"

Remember passing notes in class?

Wait for it...wait for it...NOW!

I don’t know exactly why I’m drawn to companies that have pep talks, quotes, or facts tucked away on their products’ packaging. Maybe it’s because my mom left me notes in my lunch while I was in elementary school, or maybe it takes me back to the days in high school when you’d get that thrill from successfully passing a note during class without the teacher noticing.

These little things bring a smile to my face because in today’s money-hungry business environment, it’s just nice to read something nice and encouraging. You know, not that a “now with 20% more in every box” sticker or a “new look, but same great flavor” sticker on the front of the box or bag isn’t thoughtful or anything…

What do you think about companies who do this? Do you like it, hate it, or don’t care? Is there another company or brand that includes little messages somewhere unexpected? Sound off below!

Image credit to gwilli, LexnGer, and Timothy Valentine.


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. JPorretto

    Popsicle sticks FTW! I mean they were the worst jokes ever, but it was infinitely better than no jokes at all!

    Nice post!

    • amy

      Haha, so true, Jeff! I’d totally forgotten about those, good call!!

  2. Amanda

    I love this post Amy! I think little uplifting saying like these are awesome! And I enjoy reading them every time I have one of these products. I didn’t know Halls started doing this, but that is super awesome. When you’re feeling sick, a little quote can give you a much needed moment to smile. =)

    • amy

      Aww, thanks so much, Amanda 🙂

      I wasn’t lying at all when I said that reading that pep talk put a smile on my face. It was exactly what I needed that day (well, that and the cough syrup and 12 hours of sleep LOL). It was such an unexpected surprise that went a lot farther then I bet the marketers ever thought it would.

  3. Jen

    The Hot Sauce packets from Taco Bell are pretty funny. I don’t even use it but when they first came out I always took some just to read. And I also love the Snapple Facts. I get a Snapple from the gas station every once and a while and really look forward to the facts on the cap. 🙂 Great post Amy!

    • amy

      It’s so funny that we were just talking about this earlier! I love that each packet of sauce seems to have their own caption on it. Seeing the same 5 captions would get really old and boring after a while. WTG Taco Bell marketing department 😀

  4. Jill Tooley

    Awesome post, Amy!

    I’ve gotta agree with you; these messages make me feel warm and fuzzy, especially the Dove wrappers. Even the Taco Bell sauce packets make me chuckle! I’d never seen the Halls wrappers before, but those are cool too.

    Have you seen the Splenda packets with the heartwarming quotes on them? Not sure if they still print them, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. 🙂

    • amy

      I love the Splenda packets! Those are too ‘sweet’ 😉 hahahahaha I really love companies that include messages in or on their packaging. It’s like finding an Easter egg or something secret.

      Thanks so much, Jill!

      • Amanda

        I love the Splenda ones too! I noticed those so much more after reading this post, I even saved some to post on here. They say: “Be Sweet. Pass it On” “Happiness is just a sprinkle away.” and “Surrender to the sweetness”. So cute!!!!!!!!!

  5. Mandy Kilinskis

    I love food/candy/Halls/etc. with little messages written on them. It makes me feel like the companies totally care that their products are spreading real joy to consumers. Like Jill said, the Taco Bell hot sauce packets make me chuckle, too.

    As long as messages are well-written and incorporated in a semi-natural way, I think they can add a lot to products. But when they start going the way of fortune cookies (incorrect grammar, advertisements, NOT FORTUNES!), that’s when it detracts instead of adds.

    • amy

      It totally makes companies seem like they stand behind their product and want to make their customers smile. It’s as if they’re saying, “Hey thanks for buying our awesome product. Here we’ll throw in a warm fuzzy for you to enjoy!” Love it!

      “But when they start going the way of fortune cookies (incorrect grammar, advertisements, NOT FORTUNES!), that’s when it detracts instead of adds.” So true!! The message has to be genuine and fit with the product.

  6. Jenna Markowski

    I love when snacks and treats provide me with a joke or a pep talk! As we all know, I’m an avid Taco Bell fan, so I love the sayings on their sauce packets. I’m also a huge fan of the jokes on Popsicle sticks and Laffy Taffys. The Laffy Taffy jokes are even more unique because they are jokes submitted by real kids.

    I think a lot of people like those little messages, and I’m sure brands get tons of impressions just from people turning to their friends and saying, “Look what my [insert brand name here] wrapper says!” Sounds like a win/win to me.

    • amy

      I forgot about the Laffy Taffy jokes! Those were so cool to read as a kid because you were usually the same age as the person who submitted the joke. Also, the corniness of them is adorable.

      I saved my Hall’s wrapper and showed my mom because I’d never seen anything like it before. And I pretty much said, “Look at what my Hall’s wrapper says!” hahaha You can bet they have a customer for life now 😉

  7. Eric

    Oh…Snapple facts. Makes me miss the drink so. Looks like I’m picking up a 12-pack when my check comes in tomorrow! I like those…interesting, sometimes strange, little facts and things you’d otherwise not know, much less, ever think about. The inspiration sayings I just find funny. It’s like someone re-discovered the old “joke-on-the-popsicle-stick” and ran WAY too far with the idea (kudos to Jeff for thinking the same thing, there).

    Taco Bell sauce does deserve some repsect points, though. I ever want some salsa verde and a witticism, BAM! I’ll getting myself to the Taco Bell condiment station.

    • Amanda

      Yes!!!!! The salsa verdes are the best TB condiment ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! +50 points Eric!

    • Candice J.

      I have to agree with Amanda, the salsa verde sauce is pretty amazing! I’m not a huge taco bell fan but now i go just to buy something and get the sauce. Heinz Ketchup often times puts little jokes and messages on their bottles as well but not so much the packets. Still funny to read when i’m strolling the lanes at the store shopping. Also a little known fact, you can actually customize your own Heinz Ketchup bottle to say anything you want. For instance”Will you marry me? Only if you can Ketchup!?!” Hahaha a little cheesy but cute and i’d snatch that bottle right off the shelf. Pretty cool if you ask me!

      • Amy Swanson

        I never knew about Heinz Ketchup and the customization you could do to the bottle. That’s very cool!! I don’t think it’d be something I’d buy, but if I knew of a ketchup fiend I’d definitely give them a bottle. Thanks, Candice!

  8. Elizabeth

    I happened across your blog because of the Dove wrapper reference. I’m giving a speech next week about the quote “You are the star for which all evenings wait”. I saved a wrapper that had this message on it for a long time and actually taped it to my mirror. It was something that I wanted to believe about myself and over time, I think it had an effect.

    • Amy Swanson

      Hey there, Elizabeth 🙂

      So glad you stumbled upon my blog and that you found it helpful. Finding messages like this in packaging is always a nice surprise, especially when it’s something that we need to hear.

      Good luck on the speech- hope you ace it!

  9. Emm

    Do you remember when they first started the printing on Halls wrappers

  10. Sacagawea

    I hate trite sayings anywhere they appear. I’d like some that reflect what I am feeling most of the time so I could go RIGHT ON. Vapidity really p*sses me off.

  11. Harry Bogosian

    Amy, I don’t know how old this article is, but it’s awesome & spot-on. More companies should follow the lead of the great brands you & the other posters recalled.

    Creating a pause as we read, reflect, touch & unwrap or otherwise interact, with a product is akin to those “better” men’s socks purveyors who insert “crinkly” paper inside. It’s like marketing mailers (dare I even say junkmail?) crammed with with a special folded-up note/invitation, colored inserts, scratch-off ticket, etc…..anything to increase the consumers adrenalin, urgency, dwell & handling time with their product or the lead-in to it. Once again, a very insightful blog!!

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