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How to Shoot the Best Unboxing Videos For Your Brand

Posted by Deb Nicharot on February 18, 2020

We can all make sense of viral videos of cute animals, chaotic pranks and comedy sketches –  but the growing phenomenon of unboxing videos may be one of the most peculiar turns YouTube has seen. By now, most people have stumbled upon one of these videos – whether they’re researching for a gift, or trying to decide if they want something for themselves – brands and corporations have learned the value of these videos in the realm of marketing products in an accessible, guerilla-style way. We’ll look deeper into examples of how they utilize this video style later in the post.

What are YouTube unboxing videos?

Unboxing videos are a descendent of the popular genre of haul videos on YouTube. These capture people revealing the contents of their shopping bags, and range from showcasing their latest Sephora haul to the groceries they just purchased from Trader Joe’s. Unboxing videos take it one step further and narrow the scope.

In front of the camera, someone opens the package and pores over the design, instructions and beyond. The highlight of these videos are the effects they can have on us as viewers. It’s a voyeuristic journey, emphasized by the perspective of the camera, that gives a similar feeling and experience as Christmas morning bliss.

Unboxing videos grew in popularity with the rise of Apple, showcasing its elegant packaging and sleek design. Beyond that, they surged to dominate social media feeds with videos centering around gaming consoles, video games, electronics, subscription boxes, toys, clothing brands and anything else that can be physically revealed to a lens. They truly hit their stride in 2014, when they grew 57% from the past year, reveals Google.

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Why are consumers obsessed with unboxing videos?

Steve Jobs understood the power in packaging, as revealed by this quote in Walter Issacson’s biography. Apple’s Jonathan Ive said:

“Steve and I spend a lot of time on the packaging,” said Ive. “I love the process of unpacking something. You design a ritual of unpacking to make the product feel special. Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.”

While these concepts fall far beyond the typical concerns regarding packaging (cost, weight, protection, etc.), it’s clear that Jobs understood how important a first impression could be. That is why unboxing videos are so popular.

They immortalize the product at its most valuable stage – right after it comes out of the box. There are more than 74 million results for “unboxing” on YouTube, reports the New York Times. While some of the power in these videos is learning more about what you’re looking to buy, there’s another theory that they are offering a feeling similar to retail therapy.

If you consider that a study from 2013 found that attractive packaging stimulates the reward-seeking areas of the brain – the same associated with impulse purchasing – you can understand the addictive tendencies of unboxing.

Here’s a few examples of how unboxing videos offer themselves as practical ways to get insight on a company’s product and feed the retail appetite:

  • They feel authentic. At their heart, unboxing videos seem to have very minimal budgets – most of them are homemade, after all – which means no fancy camera angles, Photoshop or lighting tricks. What you’re seeing when you watch them is real. It makes viewers feel as if they’re getting something that hasn’t been enhanced to coerce or trick them. The untainted view lets them decide for themselves if it is as good as advertised.
    Harvard Business Review conducted research in regard to how human contact matters in the context of business. While companies recognize the importance of authenticity, like highlighting that they are family-owned or have a long-standing recipe, studies found a significance in human involvement. By having people, or influencers that viewers trust, back your product – you may come across as more authentic.
  • They share in the excitement. Without even buying the product, viewers of these videos get to experience the rush of the big reveal.
  • They build hype. Creators of unboxing videos pay close attention to details we may overlook. They know to draw attention to things that make the packaging and experience unique, like the decorations, possible freebies, interesting information, etc. Despite the industry, influencers have learned to capitalize on the heights of the experience and dramatize the reveal.

How can corporations utilize unboxing videos?

Marketers have noticed the sheer force behind these unboxing videos – they’re affordable to make and many rack up views. Over 40 unboxing videos have over 10 million views on YouTube. Here are some examples of how corporations have utilized our obsessions with unboxing videos to promote their products:

The Walt Disney Company

In 2015, the Walt Disney Company hosted a live 18-hour marathon of unboxing – with toys and merchandise related to the release of the movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” YouTube stars and influencers worldwide participated, starting in Sydney, Australia, and ending at Lucasfilm in San Francisco.

Adore Me

The New York lingerie company, whose customers are mainly digital-savvy millennials, took advantage of the unboxing craze by employing unboxing in their television ads. The company’s chief executive said that the spots produced a higher response rate and generated more sales than their previous marketing campaigns.


FabFitFun encourages its consumers and subscribers to make their own unboxing videos, while also hiring influencers to showcase their FabFitFun boxes in Instagram and Snapchat stories. FabFitFun’s aesthetic plays well into the unboxing world, where each box is a bit like a piece of art in itself. They encourage sharing videos on social with their hashtag and offer compelling giveaways in return.

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What should you include in an unboxing video?

For brands to succeed in implementing unboxing videos into their marketing strategy, they should consider a few of these following tips:

  • Don’t overlook your packaging. Brands like Glossier, Apple, FabFitFun and StitchFix know that their first impression matters. Your first glimpse at a product, especially if memorialized in a video, shouldn’t be of a sad, plain cardboard box.
  • High quality video. While we know that unboxing videos are all about presenting your most authentic self, that doesn’t mean anyone wants to watch something out-of-focus. The product should be framed intentionally – this is all about making it as appealing as possible. Problems with production, including poor sound, will distract viewers.
  • Timing matters. The latest tech is always a good idea. In our digital-centric world, staying up to date can be harder than ever before. People are going to want to see the newest stuff as much as possible. On the bright side, with how fast new technology comes out, you don’t have to wait long for a new opportunity to dive into a new trend.
  • Drop the long introduction. With all of the content available at consumer’s fingertips, don’t waste time at the beginning of your video with rambling. Get right into opening up and showing the product – that’s why your viewers are there.
  • Use the product. The video isn’t over when you’ve finished unwrapping. Take it out and show it in use. If it’s a new phone, let us see the screen, and walk us through the set up. If it’s clothing, wear it. Talk viewers through the look and feel.

The unboxing experience continues to evolve and work as an effective strategy for brands to showcase their products in an authentic, straight-forward way. A well-produced unboxing video can be a powerful tool. If you’re looking for a professional crew to help you make your goals a reality, Crews Control is readily available where you are.

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