Rogue Logistics: the Amazon Big Box and Other Delivery Stunts

With more promotional demos popping up from Amazon, Rajapack looks at a few of the more creative packaging and delivery based stunts from the past few years and answers a few key questions; for example, how many Amazon “Octocopters” would it take to lift the recently delivered “giant box”?

Amazon are at it again: earlier this year an enormous parcel with the Amazon logo printed on the side was spotted in a Wisconsin street – arguably one of the biggest boxes anyone’s seen in a long while. What could they possibly have been delivering? Thinking about Amazon products, it could be anything: 900 books, 1000 DVDs, a pair of scissors, endless second-hand digital cameras – anything. Not many people could figure it out, until it was later revealed that inside the giant box was…..a car. It was a Nissan Versa Note in fact – part of their ambitious advertising campaign which allowed customers to purchase the car by clicking a link on Amazon, with a selected few having their vehicles delivered inside the big box.

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To be honest, some of us preferred the mystery. But after the big reveal, many were left wondering what Amazon were going to do next; first we see automatic drones delivering directly to the customer’s door, and now this.

Perhaps the next big move for Amazon would be to combine the two: what if they used the parcel drones to deliver the giant box? Can it be done?

Well, the standard version of the car in the box weighs around 1094kg, and each delivery drone can carry around 2.3kg; so to carry the car alone it would take around 475 drones. Factor in the weight of the box as well and you’re looking at adding a couple more “Octocopters” to even pick the thing up.

Could the drones do it? No. Obviously space, attachment, and anything else you can think of is an issue. Perhaps if Amazon wants to stick to a copter-based delivery system, they should think about upgrading their equipment. Certain military helicopters, for example, can carry around 20 000kg, meaning they could deliver almost twenty cars at one time. Food for thought.

 

Other Contenders

Despite the high amount of press around the Amazon big box, it turns out that the monopoly on promotionally oversized boxes doesn’t lie with the online retail giants – they have to share the market with these box-based advertising campaigns:

Mini Cooper launched a guerrilla marketing campaign in Amsterdam back in late 2009, leaving discarded Mini Cooper-sized cardboard boxes in public places to give the impression they were trashed Christmas packaging left in the garbage (one hell of a post-Christmas Day tidy up).

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Sport apparel leaders Adidas gained coverage in early 2013 with their popup shops shaped like enormous Adidas shoe boxes, complete with giant laces dangling lazily from under the lid.

And to top all that, Urbantrainer, a South Korean design company, built themselves a cardboard popup store in central Seoul decked out with cardboard-style furniture and speakers. There was even a cardboard TV.

 

Rogue Deliveries

Amazon isn’t alone in the delivery stunt game either; in fact a number of companies from a range of sectors have tried to gain acclaim using equally creative delivery stunts and promotional displays:

dadaistUber, a company that uses a mobile app to connect people with private hire drivers, decided to spend some time in 2012 delivering ice cream directly to their users simply by pressing an ice cream cone icon on the app.

Takeaway Pizza gurus Domino’s Pizza went down the same route as Amazon in summer 2013 when they tried to deliver a pizza using an automatic drone – but unfortunately this was only a one-off stunt and not the future of pizza delivery. 

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Monster Slippers, a novelty slipper company, deliberately manufactured  and delivered (allegedly, at least) one giant size 1450 slipper to a customer, claiming that the decimal point in “size 14.5” had been missed. It was 210cm long.

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US steak restaurant chain, Morton’s Steakhouse, took a different approach from Monster Slippers and delivered something a customer actually wanted: a tasty porterhouse steak, which was handed to him on arrival at the airport after he Tweeted that he was hungry whilst on the plane.  

 

The Box Perspective

So what do the packaging experts think of these stunts? We spoke to Rajapack’s Senior Buyer, Hector Au, to find out:

Q: As a packaging expert, is the Amazon box the biggest box you’ve ever seen?

A: You do get large boxes used in the aviation industry, as wings of Boeing 747s and fuselages need to be safely transported around – so not a massive shock.

Q: What was your initial reaction to upon seeing the story about the giant box?

A: Hoax! I was looking for traces from photoshop.

Q: Apart from the big box, what’s the most impressive delivery stunt you’ve ever seen?

A: Seeing the WestJet airline delivery stunt before Christmas was particularly memorable.  Passenger’s festive wishes were taken before check in. These wishes then came true, when presents were delivered on the luggage carousels when they arrived at their destination.

 

 

Sources: Independent; BBC; Auto Evolution; Uber; Ad Week; Telegraph; Gizmodo; Sub5Zero; Retail Design Blog

Images: YouTube; YouTube; YouTubeYouTube 

 

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