Last spring, Walmart released its Avengers Augmented Reality App to tie in with the release of Marvel’s “The Avengers” movie. After downloading the app from iTunes or Android Market, consumers were able to use their smartphone to lock into signage scattered throughout the store, unlocking...
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Last spring, Walmart released its Avengers Augmented Reality App to tie in with the release of Marvel’s “The Avengers” movie. After downloading the app from iTunes or Android Market, consumers were able to use their smartphone to lock into signage scattered throughout the store, unlocking the movie’s various superheros. Think hologram. In October, Walmart extended the program, branding its MarketSize pizzas boxes with an Avengers trigger point. Scanning the trigger point releases a very “cool” 3D interactive city.
Augmented reality is just one of the new interactive technologies being used to capture the attention of a consumer marketplace plagued with attention deficit disorder. QR Codes, SnapTags, and Near Field Communication (NFC) are also being used in greater frequency, especially in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market, but also in pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and by quick serve restaurants (QSRs).
Packagers looking to increase revenues should be on high alert. High-performance packaging, also called electronically enabled packaging or smart packaging, is poised for extreme growth, says IDTechEx. In its report, “Brand Enhancement by Electronics in Packaging 2013-2023,” IDTechEx reveals that over a 10-year period, the total market for e-packaging devices will grow from $0.03 billion to $1.7 billion. Most of the action will remain in the CPG market; by 2023 a projected 35 billion units for CPGs will have some type of electronic functionality.
According to IDTechEx, nearly 3,000 organizations worldwide are looking to develop technologies to meet the potential demand of this burgeoning market.
Fuisng function with technology
High performance packaging fuses packaging’s basic functions—security/protection, utilization, and graphic communication—with the technology of wireless/mobile media to offer the end user information or an experience that engages the senses.
In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, doughnut chain Krispy Kreme printed QR codes on specially marked doughnut boxes. Scanning the QR code sends the customer to Krispy Kreme’s Facebook page, where they are invited to send a Krispy Kreme Valentine e-card to that special someone.
At IDTechEx’s Printed Electronics 2012 conference, attendees were given a sample of Origami Electronics, consisting of circuits printed on paper that only became functional when the paper was correctly folded.
For the consumer packaged good (CPG) company, e-packaging can improve brand protection, product safety, and inventory control, while enhancing promotional campaigns and bringing product differentiation to a crowded retail store environment.
“Smart or intelligent packaging allows the CPG to engage in conversations with the consumer either at the point of purchase or beyond,” says Colleen Twomey, Assistant Professor in Graphic Communication at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. “It allows the consumer to interact with the brand, get coupons, play games, enter contents. CPGs are looking to have the consumer establish brand loyalty through packaging, all taking place through the consumer’s mobile device.”
Packagers, especially those serving the CPG market, will be increasingly expected to offer more than just a box. No longer just a vehicle to hold a product, packaging has moved beyond the purchase and is being used to generate experiences for shoppers, says Twomey. These might include connectivity and/or interactivity with social media, PURLs, movie/video trailers, gaming, and Website information.
Beyond the “ooh” and “ah” factor, printed electronics also have a more practical function—security. Beneath the label of that expensive wine you are drinking might very well be an RFID tag to ensure brand protection. In the food and beverage industry, sensors that track storage temperature or alert consumers to expirations dates are being developed.