More companies are tapping consumers’ interest in personalized packaging.


Little did I know while growing up that my mom was way ahead of the curve when she wrote our names on disposable cups during family gatherings that we often hosted or attended. That way, we kids wouldn’t take a fresh disposable cup each time we wanted more Kool-Aid or soda.

With the influence of Generation Me, that same kind of personalized touch used by dear old mom is riding a wave of popularity. Some recent examples involving packaging:

  • This year through October, Caribou coffee brought its customers into the conversation with limited-edition packaging inspired by Caribou’s tagline, “Life is short. Stay awake for it.” Every cup, napkin and window graphic included consumers’ responses to what they “stay awake for,” from “driving with the top down” to “last ride on the ferris wheel.”
  • Bud Light beer introduced a write-on label in which, using a key or coin, users can write a name, number or whatever strikes their muse. There’s going to be no mix-up on whose beer is whose, and it also serves as a blank canvas for messaging a new-found bar friend.

Thus, packaging can help people become more social, for better or worse.

  • For those not of drinking age who like to take ownership of their bottle, 8-ounce “minis-to-go” bottles of Nestlé Waters’ Ice Mountain water feature a new write-on label. A print ad promoting the innovation showed a mom, a little girl, and two side-by-side bottle labels, one with the product branding and the other with the name “Amy” drawn in and the clever tagline, “Now with two names you love on the label.”

I’d say that’s the write stuff.

  • Mars’ M&M Candies website, which has offered custom-printed candies for weddings, birthdays and other celebrations since 2005, took that to the next level in September through customized packaging. Users have the choice of various types of packaging that can be printed with custom messages. Personal images can be uploaded using the website software. For more on customized packaging at, see Personalized packaging? How sweet it is…

           Now anyone can be package designer and purchasing manager, all at once. 

  • Likewise, Jones Soda offers flavor selection for 6- and 12-packs to go along with an uploaded photo for the label front and back-of-label copy the customer provides.
  • Lastly, there may be a Coke with your name on it Down Under. In Australia, Coca-Cola has begun replacing the name on bottles with a series of the 150 most popular names in the country, such as Matt and Jess, which is accompanied by the label’s suggestion to “Share a Coke with [name]”.

Looking back, it seems that mom was a more with-it lady than I’d thought, and those personalized, reusable cups put her ahead of the “green” curve, too. A lot of us realize later in life just how wise our parents had been all along.