The Hilarious Fake Packaging of the Fisher Price Happy Hour Playset

Forget dollhouses or kitchen sets—The Fisher Price Happy Hour Playset is the hot toy of the holiday season. Complete with bar stools and beer bottles, this is the perfect way to unwind after a tough day on the playground. Parents be advised: it’s not recommended for children under three.

Of course, the Happy Hour Playset isn’t a real product—but it made you look twice, didn’t it? Created by Adam Padilla, Branding Director and Co-Founder of Brandfire, this tongue-in-cheek playset was a meme that quickly garnered national attention after its posting on Instagram. We spoke with Padilla about why (and how) he created the packaging for this fake Fisher Price toy, what made it go viral, and the pros and cons of online content.

Tell us about where the idea for the Fisher Price Happy Hour Playset came from.

Adam Padilla: I am the branding director and co-founder of Brandfire, a NYC branding agency, so package design is very important to me. I also happen to run an Instagram meme account called @adam.the.creator, where I post original content every day. I was racking my brain for a new idea last Sunday night while playing with my 21 month-old daughter in my kitchen. I watched her run up to her play kitchen and shuffle the pots and pans around on the counter and thought it would be funny if a toy company were to market a pretend bar set to toddlers. I asked my wife, Willow, if she thought that would be a good meme to create, and she agreed.

So on Monday, during my lunch hour, I fired up Photoshop and created the package mockup. I posted it that afternoon and by the next day it had collected about 2,500 likes. By Wednesday, a friend DM’ed me to tell me that he had seen it on the news. When I searched it on Google I was completely stunned. It was a national story. I mean, local news outlets were covering it on the nightly news. It was on The TODAY Show. It had become a phenomenon!

What do you think made the image so popular?

Adam Padilla: I feel like the image strikes the right balance of completely outrageous and sort of believable. It’s that tension that made people ask themselves, “is this real?” and that is what made it very sharable. People either laughed and shared it to make a friend or family member laugh, or they shared it in outrage because they couldn’t believe that a major toy company would release a toy that encouraged children to pretend that they were drinking alcohol. A popular Facebook account cropped out my watermark and reposted it, and that’s where it really took off. Reddit followed and before long it had aggregated tens of millions of impressions.

Understandably, there were some less than enthusiastic reactions to the Happy Hour Playset. What were some of the more unexpected responses you got to it?

Adam Padilla: Oh man, some people were outraged. I got a DM from a nice woman who was furious because she had alcoholism in her family and this was a glorification of kids drinking early. I saw comments from parents angry that the bar stools looked too tall and unsafe for kids. One of the comments was particularly upset that the kids were holding beer bottles and that was “the last straw.”  

But there were also unexpected positive responses, like the parents who wished this was real! Many of the parents tagged friends with the simple words “we need to get this for our son,” which is so awesome.

I also got a message from the photographer that had shot the image of the baby “bartender” on the package. Her name is Holly Stark and she told me that she took the photo several years ago, posted it on Facebook like she always does but this photo went totally crazy. Someone had taken it and cropped her watermark out, too. It had been circling for years and gets edited into many memes but she says none that has gotten the attention that this one has!



No one can deny that the image of the bar is insanely convincing! Although it’s not a real product, what elements did you focus on to design packaging that would fit with the line of Fisher Price products?

Adam Padilla: Thank you! I took cues from original Fisher Price packages that depict a glamour shot of the product being used by happy toddlers. These images are never too busy, so I kept the composition simple. I created the entire product image first, and treated it like a real photograph even though every piece of it was completely fabricated from other similar playsets. The bar stools, for example, were created by elongating the legs of a pink plastic stool for babies and turning it brown. The bar itself was a kitchen counter that I extended to stretch the length of the product. The backdrop with “mirrored glass” was meant to replicate those paper decals that you always have to apply to these kind of toys. I even drew the mirrored effect by hand to mimic that style. The “bar” neon was found on Shutterstock and that put the icing on the cake.

As far as copy, I always love reading the romance language on these toys, so I wrote my own on the side panel. Most people don’t pick up on these details consciously, but they add to the sense of realism. I did receive a comment on my Instagram account where the girl quoted the side panel word for word! I was like “how did she even see that copy, it’s so small!” I even added the product contents copyline along the bottom, as well as safety information. I didn’t go pun-crazy or too silly. I kept it sincere and credible. I figured that the joke was the product idea itself, there was no need to pile on with goofy humor. I think the result genuinely feels like a product that may have been in development at some point before a company exec stopped the madness and said, “Wait… we can’t produce this!”

happy_hour_box_Artboard 1 copy.jpg

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 5.46.57 PM.png

How did you share your work, and what outlets/websites/social media platforms seemed to be the most successful for getting it noticed?

Adam Padilla: I love Instagram and have had an account for several years now.  I originally began the account as a daily sketchbook of my illustrations and after completing two one-year sketchbooks began to shift over to memes and comedy, since that is really my passion. When I can combine art and comedy, I love the result. I have a close circle of “meme” friends like @black_humorist, @thedailylit, @highfiveexpert, and @tank.sinatra, and we love making people laugh and share our work. The integration between Instagram and Facebook helps one platform feed the other, and I have my posts share to Facebook automatically as well.  You never know where these things will be picked up so the more channels you post on, the better your chances of being seen and going viral. The irony is that the post didn’t dominate Instagram as much as it did the news media. It seems like Instagram and Facebook were instrumental in taking it far enough to get people to notice it and then when the news picked it up the story took on a life of its own.

You’ve mention two instances of watermarks being cropped out of images—your own and someone else’s. What advice would you give to those who put their content online to protect what they create?

Adam Padilla: Watermarks protect your image to an extent, but if somebody knows photoshop well and are really motivated, they can remove it no matter what you do. Case in point, a year ago I combined Jackie Chan and Channing Tatum’s face into “Jackie Channing Tatum.” The watermark was photoshopped out and wound up getting millions of likes on other Instagram accounts.

You really can’t prevent meme theft, and it is actually sometimes smart to leave your watermark off of your work so that it can be passed around more easily by people claiming it as their own. Everything always comes out in the wash. If you really created the work and post it before anyone else, people will ultimately trace it back to you. Don’t let fear of being credited prevent you from posting. Trust the system, many times your own followers will come to your aid and give you credit.

Because of internet and social media, images like this can be shared in an instant. What benefits (and disadvantages) do you see in this?  

Adam Padilla: The instant nature of social media is a double-edged sword. The fact that work can be sent around the world so rapidly is great for businesses and for creatives, but also a challenge for people to validate. There are so many new news sources popping up that it is tough to discern whether the news is credible or not. You have to be very careful and not believe everything that you read. My prank was a bit of harmless fun, but many people have different intentions and are seeking to take advantage of gullibility. Fortunately, I do believe in the self-regulation of the people that comprise these social media channels and trust that they ultimately sniff out the truth at some point. If you get an email from a Nigerian prince, however, I advise that you don’t send them any money. I learned that the hard way. :)

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Are you a studio, in-house brand, or Agency?

Studio of the Year

One studio will be recognized for their collective work and contribution to consumer package design over the past year. This award will be given to the studio, agency, or in-house team that receives the most overall wins across all categories in The Dieline Awards 2017 competition.

The Dieline Awards 2016 Studio of the year: Mousegraphics

Design is an endless exercise in communication. mousegraphics is a creative office that realizes this basic principle since 1984, and in a way that concerns each one of its partners / clients separately. With a creative team consisting today of ten designers, an illustrator, a photographer, a creative strategist and an office manager.

Learn More + Register Today


from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Tap Espresso & Salad Bar Branding and Packaging

Christos Zafeiriadis designed the branding and packaging for Tap Espresso & Salad Bar, a hidden gem tucked away in the lobby of a high-rise commercial building in Sydney, Australia. Tap is proud to source local coffees and provide delicious lunch options, which even includes a salad bar with over 40 different fresh ingredients. 

The identity and all the applications consist of illustrated elements that one can find in the cafe. The color and material selection alongside the industrial space create a friendly atmosphere, helping customers wind down and relax.



The illustrations and typography styles are flashy, fun, and reminiscent of retro diner graphics one might find in the 50s. The illustrations of business people also add a nice personalized touch to the overall branding and illustration. The fresh colors pop against the muted backgrounds to allow overall for an eye-catching design. 



Designed by: Christos Zafeiriadis
Location: Athens, Greece

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Phin & Phebes Ice Cream Packaging

Interact Boulder helped Phin and Phebes, a Brooklyn NY based ice cream brand redesign their packaging to help them stand out in the freezer.

“Phin and Phebes started as a regional brand in Brooklyn, NY and made a name for itself with unique and surprising flavors. When the potential to become a national brand presented itself, Phin and Phebes partnered with Interact to help bridge the gap from the small cult followings of Brooklyn into an approachable, mainstream consumer brand that still had soul.”

“Phin and Phebe’s original packaging highlighted each flavor profile in bold display, Interact developed a system that addressed the trends of the category while simultaneously maintaining existing brand equities. By combining proprietary typography with new photography and illustration, quirky brand personality and appetite appeal were seamlessly blended together.”

“Interact then utilized the entirety of the pint to tell the unique stories for each flavor’s ingredients and inspiration. Combining the characterful brand voice with enhanced and fluid storytelling, the optimized packaging drives consumer interest and loyalty.”

“By providing a central, focused element to the front of the pack, consumers can easily distinguish flavors even through the freezer door. In changing the lid color to purple, we believe the Phin and Phebes line builds a colorful brand block, cutting through the clutter at shelf and establishing Phin and Phebes as a legitimate player in the category.”

Agency: Interact Boulder
Client: Phin & Phebes
Location: Brooklyn, NY

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

V-Spoon Utensil

Emil Dairy needed convenient spoons to serve with their dairy products that would not take up a lot of space or require much material. The Clever House developed V-Spoon, a convenient solution that many other to-go foods will be tempted to try: a thin, small bioplastic spoon that lays flat and then folds together to create a handy utensil.



“V-spoon is a disposable, bio-friendly, all ages smart, design attractive product. Functional and non ordinary plastic cutlery, a perfect POP or POS item, can be integrated in any package and customized in size. V-spoon is absolutely flat when unfolded—and it’s the wide space for branding, advertising opportunity and printing on it. Both functional and branding tool.”



Since V-Spoon comes flat, it makes it incredibly easy to incorporate into individually packaged foods that are designed for people to enjoy away from home—and away from the utensil drawer. It’s still thin (about 3 millimeters thick) but it has a large amount of surface area that brings with it lots of advertising opportunities. By providing the utensil for consumers, it solves problems for them and also allows certain food items to be sold individually and enjoyed without any planning or lunch-packing necessary.


Designed by: The Clever House

Client: Emil Dairy

Country: Russia

City: St. Petersburg

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Neverland Cabernet Sauvignon

Here’s a wine to remind us that adventure is out there! Makers & Allies, a California Central Coast agency designed this playful wine for their local client Field Recordings, an atypical winery. 



The design is full of little details and surprises, much like the kinds of things you’d come across when exploring a new territory. The texture on the label is exquisite and reinforces the overall adventurous feeling of the wine. The script logo is lively and bold, much like the name “Neverland” itself. The details are what really make this wine unique, as even the cork is decorated with the same topographical pattern that is found on the texture of the bottle.



“Local knowledge. Traditional techniques. Some might say the California’s Central Coast is the happiest place on earth. Some might even compare it to Peter Pan’s Neverland. We live here, so we’re a little biased, but we can’t help but agree with this sentiment. A truly Californian Cabernet made with local knowledge and traditional techniques, Neverland is a special blend from 5 different vineyards within Santa Barbara County.”

“The package is restrained, yet impactful, with subtle detailing and texture to make it special: Santa Barbara County topography lines are debossed into the label to give it texture, while the embossed brand name stands out in spot gloss. The restrained color palette keep the focus on the wine inside the bottle, while the screen printed neck collar is that extra something that makes it pop off the shelf.”

Designed By: Makers & Allies
Client: Field Recordings
Location: San Luis Obispo, California, USA

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

KADE PROFESSIONAL Hair Product Line Timeless Packaging

You use hair products to keep your mane looking beautiful, so shouldn’t the products look beautiful, too? The Archer Group has designed the packaging for KADE PROFESSIONAL, a truly upscale hair care experience.



“Developed by a team of top beauty industry professionals and dermatologists, KADE presents a fundamentally novel concept by bridging hair and skin care into a single cohesive entity. Archer Group was tasked on delivering a clean, unobstructed, and timeless look.”


KADE takes an incredibly natural yet flawless approach, keeping colors simple and text classic. Matte white bottles with black text feel classy and traditional, and the sleek black boxes give it a premium vibe. Bottle caps have a splash of color that feels rich and earthy. Flat tops on the bottle allow consumers to place it upside down and get every last bit of product out of the bottles.


Designed by: The Archer Group

Country: United States

City: San Francisco, CA

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Lost at Sea Onboard Wines

I think it’s fair to say that a luxury yacht ride is not complete without an amazing bottle of wine to drink. For these special wines, WhatCameNext_ designed the packaging to appeal to those enjoying a nice, sophisticated boat ride. Using nautical references as cues for the range of prices, each one looks unique and refined.




“Brand creation for a luxury corporate entertaining yacht company that encompassed identity and naming through to entire tiered wine portfolio sold exclusively onboard boats. The range features nautical references throughout allowing engaging offers across different price points. The initial range created three levels, including a Cabinmasters Selection delivering wine varietals selected from a variety of Australian estates.”


All of the Lost at Sea bottles are sleek and black, instantly giving them an air of class. Icons on the front of the label indicate which pricing tier the wine is in, and each family gives off a distinct feel. For example, some of the bottles feature a circle (almost like a window on the side of the boat) and a serene image of an ocean, sea, or lake. It incorporates nature into the packaging and feels peaceful, encouraging consumers to indulge in a glass of wine and relax while cruising the waters. The brand name is written in a subtle sans serif font, allowing the icons of each wine to stand out and adding to the luxurious vibe.



Designed by: WhatCameNext_

Country: Australia

City: Sydney

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Bold Asian-Inspired Foods in Cardinal Packaging

Bring some life into the kitchen with Cardinal foods. This line of bold, flavorful ingredients and sauces is perfect for cooking up Asian-inspired meals that are sure to impress. Designed by Alexandros Gavrilakis, bright colors and hand drawn graphics give it major shelf appeal, helping it to stand out against the competition.



“Counting 21 years as an importer and seller of the most established brands in the Asian food business, Cardinal The Food Company, commissioned us to breathe new life into its own-brand range of products.”

“Apart from creating a consistent brand identity that would unify the 6 different product categories and 50 SKU’s, we set ourselves the challenge to devise a set of visual assets that would be appealing to consumers who are looking to purchase authentic Asian products but also, to all the young culinary types craving for unique foods and flavors.”




The packaging for Cardinal packs a lot of personality without overwhelming the consumer. On the labels there are images of the product, and the intense background hues make them pop. A modern sans serif font is juxtaposed with a freehand font that matches some of the smaller doodles and graphics, making Cardinal appeal to a young, hip audience. Copywriting—such as sweet chili sauce being “delightful with everything”—adds a bit of wit and humor.



“With food being embraced as a vehicle for self-expression and storytelling, Cardinal’s new product range was designed to tell the story of a ‘meaningful union between the East and West.’ On each pack, the Asian-inspired brush typography harmoniously coexists with the illustrated recipes and the slogan ‘Learn to Wok’ calling out to all those who value authenticity or even, an authentic mash-up such as Mexican dumplings or Korean BBQ tacos!”


Designed by: Alexandros Gavrilakis

Creative & Art Direction: Alexandros Gavrilakis

Photographer: Arsenis Miaris

Design: Alexandros Gavrilakis

Food Styling: Jo Pafili

Copy: Olympia Aivazi, Alexandros Gavrilakis

Illustration: Alexandros Gavrilakis

Country: Greece

City: Athens

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Packet PVD Seed Kits

If you don’t consider yourself to have a green thumb you may be in luck. Packet PVD, a shop located in Rhode Island has come out with a line of seed kits that are so easy to use that even those that are plant-challenged will be able to grow a mini-garden in no time! 

These seed kits come at a time when urban and indoor gardening has become increasingly popular, especially for those that live in areas that lack the proper climate or open spaces for planting. The packaging itself is simple and minimal but effective. The geometric style iconography and illustrations are a nice balance against the obviously organic quality of the product itself. Each kit also comes with easy-to-follow instructions which are designed out with clarity. 

The two newest additions to the seed kit collection include: the Soothing Seed Kit and the Spicy Seed Kit

The Soothing Seed Kit includes: 
– 4 types of seeds in glass vials in a wooden block: Lavender, Sage, Chamomile, and Lemon Balm
– 4 custom-designed biodegradable hand-folded paper pots for starting the seeds
– 1 wooden crate to hold the pots
– Seed starting soil
– Growing instructions, printed on 100% recycled paper. 
– Set of 4 gold foil stamped notecards 

The Spicy Seed Kit includes: 
– 4 types of seeds in glass vials set in a wooden block: Jalapeño, Cilantro, Serrano, and Tomatillo
– 4 custom-designed biodegradable hand-folded paper pots for starting the seeds
– 1 wooden crate to hold the pots
– Seed starting soil
– Folded poster with growing instructions, printed on 100% recycled paper. 

“We design the kind of products that we want to give as gifts to friends, family, clients, ourselves. We love simple, useful and beautiful objects. We adore minimalism and we hate waste, but we’ll take some bold maximalism with a little bling once in awhile. We look for small ways to make people’s lives better. Packet PVD is based in Downtown Providence, Rhode Island. The shop is a project of Sarah Rainwater Design.”

Agency: Sarah Rainwater Design
Founder and Creative Director: Sarah Rainwater
Senior Designer: Sarah Verity
Junior Designer: Danikqwa Rambert
Location: Providence, USA

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Grab Your Spoon for Betterwith Farm-Fresh Ice Cream Packaging

If you didn’t think that ice cream could get any better, think again. Betterwith Ice Cream is called “100% honest ice cream” because it’s not filled with mystery ingredients but instead local, farm-fresh ones. Vancouver agency 123w (One Twenty Three West) developed the branding and packaging for Betterwith, giving it a fresh, clean appearance that matches the pure ingredients inside.





“Our Betterwith client is a passionate entrepreneur who wanted to create a better ice cream—one that is literally made from ‘100% Honest Ingredients’ (6 flavours, all made with farm-fresh traceable cream, and local and single-sourced ingredients). She needed our help to create a visual identity that could illustrate the high-quality nature of the product, appeal to customers as an affordable luxury item and stand out among the clutter of the frozen food aisle (sold at grocery stores such as Whole Foods).”





“So, we created a brand inspired by the idea that indulgences should never be compromised. The packaging is a luxurious, signature-teal colour, partnered with bold and honest ingredient images, and capped with a gold-trimmed lid. The logo—an uppercase B filled with an upright spoon—sends a simple message: dig in, this is an indulgence you can feel good about.”



Before consumers dig in, they can see an image of the fresh ingredient at the bottom of the pint. Against teal, the colors of these images are vibrant and refreshing, speaking to the quality of the ingredients. The gold-toned lid adds an element of luxury, and the lack of extraneous images and text further emphasizes this. Betterwith Ice Cream is a way for adults to indulge in their favorite icy treat without feeling immensely guilty about it.


Designed by: 123w (One Twenty Three West)

Client: Lori Joyce (Betterwith Brands)

Creative Director: Jeff Harrison, Rob Sweetman, Bryan Collins

Designer / Art Director: Kim Ridgewell

Copywriter: Danielle Haythorne

Producer: Paula Gill

Account Services: Scot Keith, Christina Tan, Helena McMurdo, Matt McGarva

Photographers: Clinton Hussey, Gabe Hall

Printers: Hemlock Printing, StanPac

Country: Canada

City: Vancouver, British Columbia

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home

Martell Assemblage Exclusif de 3 Millésimes

Parisian agency Partisan Du Sens have come up with a new design for Martell, one of the oldest and most respected cognac producers. The Martell family has been producing cognac since 1715, so they definitely know their stuff. 

In order to celebrate three centuries of cognac, Martell and Partisan Du Sens created an elegant design that pays tribute to the past. 

“Martell Assemblage Exclusif de 3 Millésimes is a reflection of the past, but also a very modern expression of the Martell style, with a multitude of fragrant nuances.”

“To celebrate Martell’s tricentenary, the agency created an exclusive and precious box inspired by the cognac house’s codes and especially by the assumed reference to the ‘Dames-Jeannes’ on the label. The box is embellished by a marquetry made of three essences of wood which symbolize the passing time and the harmony of three millesimes (three historic periods of the brand), so this gift box relates the history of the brand.”

Designed By: Partisan Du Sens
Client: Martell
Location: Paris, France

from The Dieline – Branding & Packaging Design Home