Augmented Reality as a Packaging Resource

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Paul Jenkins claims to eat, drink and sleep packaging innovation. His philosophy has been filtered into The PackHub, a UK-based platform that brings together specialists from various fields to advise brand owners on their packaging solutions. IN spoke to him about the possibilities of Augmented Reality (AR), an interactive technology that enhances the user’s experience by generating new virtual perceptions from real world materials.

How and why did augmented reality become part of the tools of the packaging industry?
Augmented Reality has been a viable packaging tool for a number of years. There were a handful of almost experimental examples when it first came out and we now regularly see some great AR being used. I still don’t think it has reached its full potential yet as an exciting marketing communication tool.

Do you find some industries more receptive to AR than others?
Brands that appeal to children such as in the toy and confectionery industries seem to do better in this area than other sectors.

What are the keys for a successful use of augmented reality in packaging?
Ideally it needs to be different, highly engaging and have an appeal that is so strong that it encourages consumers to share on social networks and go viral.

What value does augmented reality bring to packaging?
It allows brand owners to engage with consumers in a way just not possible with traditional communication methods. It can also add another level of communication to a package already busy with mandatory requirements such as barcodes, ingredients, etc.

What are a few of the best examples you have seen?
The Heinz ketchup bottle that offers recipe examples is a great example of AR being used effectively. Not only is it fun and engaging but it supports one of Heinz’s overriding goals to encourage consumers to use their product as an ingredient as well as a garnish.

What are some of the challenges companies face when implementing AR strategies?
Being different and continuing to be creative and innovative. There’s little point in a brand executing something that has been done before. Also, there is a danger of the novelty starting to wane and brand fatigue accelerating. Brand owners need to keep things fresh and exciting to keep consumers engaged.

What is the future of Augmented Reality for brands?
The market will continue to grow. Technology is developing very fast and consumers are becoming ever more receptive to new concepts. New and exciting ways to execute AR will ensure that it has a bright future.