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Connected packaging could become 'main' marketing bridge to customers

Published:  03 February, 2022

More and more brands are using QR codes and smartphone apps to transform simple packaging into digital experiences.

The drinks trade is very well placed to take advantage of this emerging trend, as connected tech could help products to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Standout bottles of wine and spirits already catch the eye in supermarket aisles, but interactive packaging could offer added value for consumers - for instance, by hovering their phone camera over a label or QR, users are invited to discover information on provenance or food pairings.

The news comes after digital experiences studio Appetite Creative released results from its first ever connected packaging survey, which found that over half (54%) of respondents claiming to have already incorporated connected experiences into their marketing plans.

Jenny Stanley, MD at Appetite Creative said: “It’s clear that connected packaging experiences have reached a tipping point and are becoming an increasingly important part of the marketing mix for brands and packaging producers.”

With 41% of respondents planning a new connected packaging campaign this year, over half (56%) would consider a Christmas themed connected packaging experience as part of their Christmas marketing campaign.

Evidence suggests that audience engagement with connected packaging is high. Of course, it requires active engagement from consumers to make it work, by scanning the relevant marker or code. But the click-through rate for connected packaging sits currently between 5% and 20%.

Treasury Wine Estates’ 19 Crimes augmented reality bottles were an early example of successful connected packaging – and opportunities continue to evolve. Campari, for example, has recently used connected packaging as a ‘ticket’ or gateway to the digital version of a physical Aperol event.

A whistle-stop tour of some of the common technology being used in connected packaging includes: QR (Quick Response code), where consumers ‘scan’ a code with their smartphone camera, and NFC (Near-Field Communication). Using NFC, users ‘tap’ a small, embedded NFC tag from a distance of around 3cm or less with their smartphone.

Connected packaging developers are also experimenting with IR (Image Recognition), which utilises computer vision, and also AR (Augmented Reality), which allows digital content to be ‘augmented’ with the physical world.