Augmented reality (AR) is a mix between the real and the virtual world. The purpose of this technology is to give consumers the opportunity to live an immersive experience. For brands, its a new way to catch consumers’ attention and make the difference in the purchase decision process.
Today, AR takes different forms: software, hardware and services, which give companies a wide range of possibilities. Brands have now introduced Augmented Reality into their packaging to maintain or even create a new link with consumers’ smartphones.
One of the first brands to have played with the AR technology was McDonald’s. They have taken the 2014 FIFA World Cup’s opportunity to launch their AR game. McDonald’s switched their recognizable fries box for 12 unique “World Cup-themed arts.”
This were created to work with the augmented reality app “McDonald’s GOL!”, which transformed the fries packaging into a net and football field. This way, customers were able to virtually play football with their smartphone thanks to their fries box. The passive and functional use of packaging is now raised to an immersive and active experience.
Advantages of AR packaging
The augmented reality packaging serves as a marketing tool for brands and allows them to include a virtual element to their packaging. This way, they can potentially create a positive reaction in the customer’s mind towards their brand. By using AR, companies can benefit from many advantages: improve brand loyalty, attract more consumers, stand out in a crowd of competitors, among others.
One of the other advantages of AR is its very low cost. Besides the costs related to developing the app itself, Augmented Reality doesn’t involve any other expenses. No need to redesign or redevelop your packaging. All you need is a QR code and your product is ready!
But why then only a very few brands are launching AR with their packaging? One of the main reason is probably the very short-lived effect of augmented reality. Consumers, and especially the so-called ‘Generation Y’ (people born during the 1980s and early 1990s), get bored quite quickly, and if all brands were using AR for their packaging, it would lose the “Wow” factor and the benefit of standing out from the crowd.
Moreover, the benefits of AR are not yet easy to measure, and according to studies less than 40% of consumers say that “they are rarely/never influenced by digitally advanced/smart aspects of food products”. So the question is: is it worth for brands to invest in this technology if the costs could outweigh the benefits?
Actually, it is unlikely that many brands will integrate AR into their packaging, as it seems it could work only for short-term or promotional events and campaigns. However, this incredible technology offers companies a new and innovative way to interact with their consumers and gives them the chance to live an immersive experience they will never forget!