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The meaningful packaging (Messaging with packaging)

Product is bearing an insightful message or information / Product reaches perpetrator/violator / Consumer is confronted with pro peace statements each and every day / Change of behaviour as possible outcome

Photo of Stephan Kardos

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I would like to follow up on the inspiration I posted in the previous stage and the great comments and extra ideas I received. In a first attempt I would suggest an international organisation managing the operations and ressources, contacting partner companies and handling the sponsoring and logistics. In addition there would be temporary on site companies/units consisting of local NPO's, multipliers and civilians and other experts of the specific area. Great voice however should be given to those directly involved.

The main product and service should be stickers, pin's or anything else being able to transport a message (see smoothie image below). The messages, precisley adapted with regard to the local special situation should target perpetrators and violators, all those that possibly still could be brought around. Messages could be simple pro peace paroles or work with images in order to touch those that do not really want to follow this destructive actions. But the messages could also transport information of facilities where those persons in question could turn to and would find a real alternative to their hopeless situation of war, turmoils and riots.

The products that bear these messages are those that are of everyday use such as matches, brushes, soap, cigarettes, toys, beer or cola (Thank you for the great ideas in the inspirations section!!!). Obviously strong and well known companies would be needed as partners for that and excellent logistics knowledge (e.g. where to combine the product and say a sticker?).

Some questions I feel still need answer:

  • Are there any other customers/people/groups that could be / should be reached?
  • If yes, with which message?
  • Could turning up the concept, that is, sticking messages to products consumed in non-crises countries (US, Europe, ....) raise awareness and add value?
  • Which value could be added in that way?
  • What would motivate big companies to join this undertaking?
  • How could the process of bringing together message and product be facilitated?
  • Is there any possible product that could be added to a product as add-on or present that symbolizes opportunity and urge the consumer to make something else (bad example but for instance seeds that could be used to do something meaningful)?

How might your idea make use of exisiting technology? Has your idea been tried in a different or related context?

Instead of existing technology this idea would rely on existing processes and products. Strong logistics and marketing knowledge could lead to thought provoking stickers, pins or other things that transport an insightful message. In different context I saw this with smoothies that had a cap out of wool that had been knitted by volunteers. smoothie donated 0.20€ of each sold smoothie to the red croos. The wool cap, which was actually of no use transported an important message: think of people that struggle during winter season (as the money went to exactly those).

How could you begin prototyping this idea in a simple way to begin testing and refining it? Who would use your idea and/or who is using it now? Is your idea technically easy medium or hard to implement?

You could easily use a sticker or pin and try to alter the message by overwriting it or sticking another layer of paper over it. Then you could try how the sticker should be shaped and sized in order to fit on various packages. I suppose it is a technically easy medium. The hard part is to bring sticker (pin, whatever) and product together as this requires some real logistical insights. I think, apart from, local players (or the fictive organisation mentioned above) the big companies could make use of it. But I would sell it as more than simple sponsoring; instead I would team up with those that are looking for sustainable and impactful ways to take over societal responsibility that goes beyond CSR.

How is your idea adapted for conditions in hard-to-access areas, such as lack of internet and mobile access? Can users adopt it without much behavior change?

Making use of existing transporting routes that seem quite far ranging, hard to access areas could be reached, too. Users just have to keep consuming the products they consume anyway.


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Photo of DeletedUser


Good idea. I always wondered why we could not print some of the basic Geneva convention principles on USAID corn bags which are being dropped in remote areas and at times also picked up by perpetrators of crimes. Or why when a conflict is raging, the ICRC did not drop thousands of leaflets over combat zones to sensitize combatants to respect the Geneva conventions.

Photo of Stephan Kardos

Nice insights Christophe, thank you.

I too think the power of this concept could lie in continuous confrontation of perpetrators with pro peace messages and texts making people think of their actions twice. I believe the more creative the message would be (and the medium) the more attention could be raised. It would also be a good way to communicate and inform about local institutions/organizations offering an alternative for those that do not really want to follow the path of violence. Thinking about it there are certainly also youngsters that could/must be reached appropriatley.

Photo of DeletedUser


One of the inspirations was about victims ability to recognize their own victimization. I love the thought of product messaging that could help with this ... like Christophe's vision of the Geneva convention printed on corn bags. Maybe a universal human rights statement that could help people recognize when their rights were being violated...?

Photo of DeletedUser


You are most welcome. Of course language and symbols need to be chosen carefully.

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