Don’t let Pandora’s unsuccessful mythological version cloud your idea of unboxing: This newer, worthwhile trend lets brands develop a personality, is welcomed by millennials, and helps consumers overcome trust issues toward a product or corporation.

“The pop culture phenomenon known as ‘unboxing’ is a genre of videos that has gained major traction online in recent years, particularly on YouTube where their presence has increased 871 percent since 2010,” says John Ball, partner/creative director at branding agency MiresBall ( “The videos feature people opening a package and examining its contents. It started with grassroots product aficionados, some of whom grew to have channels like the popular Unbox Therapy.”

Unboxing videos—in true user-generated content form—give brands’ potential customers access to their peers’ perspectives  on products.

Take My Word For It

Often, unboxers are among a brand’s biggest fans, and their views—positive or negative—can influence other consumers. The packaging and product review videos are also a great way for customers to get honest input about an item before they buy.

“With more shopping done online, unboxing is a way to  see and learn more about the product,” says Ball. “The trend allows consumers to access a level of information they wouldn’t otherwise get from a written product review, presented in  an authentic, behind-the-scenes way that lends third- party credibility.”

In a way, unboxing videos have become a substitution for the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, notes Ball. “Not only does it fuel anticipation of the purchase, but it provides useful product information and allows consumers to visualize the product they intend to buy. Google cites that 62 percent of consumers who watch unboxing videos are researching a product, creating an opportunity for brands to use this platform as a way to guide the consumer along the purchase journey. Unboxing has become an important part of the research process for consumers.” 

It’s What is Inside—and Outside—That Counts

The unboxing trend shines a light on packaging: the graphics, copy, construction, product presentation and more, helping brands see how important the entire opening experience is, says Ball.

“Prior to this trend, typical product research and reviews were focused primarily around the product itself, but unboxing videos have made the package itself a focal point and consideration when researching a product. These videos underscore the importance of packaging in the expanding e-commerce landscape.”    

Taking Action

Ball says that if searches on YouTube for unboxing videos of your brand come up emptyhanded, then make one of your own.

“Although still predominately user-generated, the movement has continued to grow and we now see brands catching on and creating their own unboxing videos and/or featuring the trend in their advertising to control the experience,” he says. “Samsung produced a professionally done, highly entertaining spin on the amateur unboxing video for its new Galaxy S6; Toys“R”Us recently wrote and produced its first unboxing video in a style that is the brand’s interpretation of the trend; Xbox has created its own branded videos that are very similar to what consumers are creating on their own; and Wal-Mart has jumped on the trend by curating its own YouTube playlist of user-generated unboxing videos.”

Follow Their Lead

With close to 42 million videos available on YouTube and counting, unboxing is no longer a niche source of content—it’s a new way of life for customers to get honest reviews of and inside looks at your brand’s products. Encourage the user-generated content stream by creating great packaging and sharing customers’ videos, then reap the benefits of unboxing.

unboxing in action:

Unbox Therapy: Lewis Hilsenteger’s channel dedicated to consumer product reviews.

Galaxy S6 campaign: Professionally shot unboxing commercials with some twists.

Toys“R”Us episodes: Ads where toys unbox toys.



Coca-Cola:  Share a Coke campaign  

The brand produced bottles with customers’ names or lyrics on the labels and distributed them throughout different cities in order to increase its exposure on Twitter. Coke attributes the campaign to a 2 percent increase in U.S. sales after more than a decade of declining revenues. 

Doritos:  Crash the Super Bowl campaign

Rather than pay an ad agency to script, shoot and test out the perfect Super Bowl advertisement, Doritos made the shrewd move a few years back to ask their fans, or at least the general video-making population, to send in their own 30-second Doritos spot. The campaign is straight forward, simple, fun, easy to share, has a huge reach and has worked eight years in a row. 

Apple x Beats by Dre:  Straight Out of Somewhere campaign

Apple x Beats developed a photo filter that allowed fans to create profile pictures using modified text from the cover of the critically acclaimed N.W.A. biopic. This campaign attached Apple to an iconic piece of music history that was also meaningful to their consumers—music fans—while giving fans an easy way to represent their hometown. The result: Apple created a compelling and easily shareable reason for consumers to create user-generated content.