But on reflection I think there is at least one occasion, very brief and fleeting, when the package could be considered a “fast culture” medium . . . when introducing a new brand or creating a new category.
In this instance the package is often the vehicle that most clearly identifies the changed landscape for the new brand as well as all competitive products that follow.
Take Absolut Vodka and Vitamin Water as two examples. The unique packages created for the introduction of these brands, both structure and graphics, virtually defined the category for all other later entrants.
In the case of Absolut, silk-screen graphics, a frosted finish, and the use of a unique bottle shape became mandatory for all super premium vodkas that followed. With Vitamin Water, the use of color in a spare but vibrant way, the typographic label, and the informational approach to copy, have become a cliché in the enhanced water category.
But as you can see, both of these packages became “slow culture” media, shortly after their introduction. They exploded onto the scene, became icons, created and still define their categories, and have not changed much since.
So yes, at the birth of a brand, the package is a “fast culture” medium.