Augmented reality offers new opportunities

Packaging equipped with augmented reality elements is gaining ground.

Augmented reality often refers to visualisations that virtually complement real images on a smartphone or tablet. The application possibilities are manifold. Virtual tours, lotteries, virtual theme worlds or operating instructions that appear on the packaging when photographing or filming a product have already been implemente. In the case of the talking skull, the Multi-Color Corporation (MCC) based in Batavia, USA, and Talkin‘ Things from Las Vegas took a new path. They combined AR with NFC technology on a label for beer bottles. The label interacts with the consumer via AR face recognition and involves them in dynamic scenarios that depend on the emotions shown in each case. If the customer scans the Smart Label with a mobile app, the skull displayed on the label enters into an interactive dialogue with the consumer. Face recognition registers whether the customer is happy or sad, and the label’s dialogue with the consumer is adapted accordingly.

Such marketing strategies aim primarily at significantly increasing turnover. But despite all the success stories so far, there are critical voices as well: “If everything is flashing, glowing and talking to me in the supermarket in the future, the desired effect will quickly disappear,” fears Uwe Melichar, Managing Partner at Factor in Hamburg, who is responsible for the Packaging division. “So far, I see more pointless applications than sensible ones. Smart packaging only makes sense if it offers functionalities that make my life easier.”

Smart packaging could certainly be a new opportunity for brick and mortar retailers looking for meaningful digital interaction. That’s why Factor, together with Siegwerk / Prismade and Edelmann, has developed the “Master of Ceremony” concept, a tea brand with digital packaging. The packaging guides the consumer through the tea preparation process via an app. The water hardness at the point of use, the specific brewing temperature and brewing time of the tea type are taken into account. “Limited or exclusive product experiences – especially with private brands – help perception of the brick and mortar trade as attractive. All the more so when they offer digital added value,” Melichar explains.