The connection between packaging and consumers is becoming ever-more digital. We explore the possibilities created when innovative technology meets interactive content.
What if your bag of chips got you home safely after having one too many beers? It might sound like fiction but Tostitos did exactly this with its special edition bag for the 2017 Super Bowl. The chip brand developed a package with an integrated breath analyser. Upon detecting alcohol it flashed a red “Don’t drink and drive” message and an Uber code. All consumers had to do was tap an on-pack button with their smartphone for an Uber to pick them up. It was a bold gimmick but proved two key aspects of interactive packaging: it has to be fun to look at and also fun to use.
Why information is king
With second-generation QR codes or near-field communication (NFC) now readily available, adding digital content to physical packaging is becoming more than a nice-to-have. It could soon be a necessity. Thanks to new technologies, packages can be individually track-and-traced and connected to an advanced database. This means each pack can be linked to a respective data set. This, then, can be displayed on a consumer’s smartphone.
But what to display? Pete Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital Innovation at Nestlé, described interactive packaging as the “mother of all content” for consumer products, starting with quality information. Blackshaw believes this should give consumers the assurance of safety with a unique production and/or best before date, as well as accurate details about what’s in the product.
Unique product identification can also serve as an effective anti-counterfeit measure, as seen with Johnnie Walker’s smart bottle. The company uses NFC tags. These enable consumers to unlock exclusive content with their smartphones and even check if a bottle’s seal has been broken.
Putting the fun in functionality
Besides the trust-building benefit of detailed quality information, it’s the added experience of interactive packaging – the entertainment factor – which can really make the sales difference. Examples of entertaining packaging include everything from smartphone games activated by scanning a pack to augmented reality (AR) enabled wine bottles that pair wines with customised content and music – as seen with Notaviva Vineyards. The creative possibilities are limitless.
Market analysts at Gartner expect the number of connected products in the world to reach 20 billion by 2020. Yet other studies warn this will only happen if brands use interactive packaging design that adds real value and requires minimal consumer effort.
To ensure the right balance of appeal and usability, SIG partners with industry experts in digital marketing to offer brand owners the latest and most creative digital tools. So, for its AR solutions, SIG works with Zappar, one of the world’s leading AR developers, while for its Track & Trace solutions, the company partners with technological pioneer Siemens.
For the Brazilian dairy producer Languiru, SIG delivered an integrated track-and-trace system. This not only proved product quality and strengthened traceability. It also opened up new marketing opportunities to connect the digital and real world.
During a two-month digital promotion in early 2018, consumers could scan unique on-pack QR codes on Languiru products to win prizes. This not only boosted sales and brand engagement but allowed Languiru to gain quality consumer insights. This includes data on product preferences and shopping frequency. That will help Languiru better communicate with consumers in the future and offer personalised promotions.