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Augmented Reality in Product Packaging

January 2022

In a world where consumers spend most of their time online, we look at the rise of AR and how impactful it can be when incorporated into product packaging.

As the augmented reality world continues to wow us and create more ways to draw more people into its orbit, our attention has turned to the use of AR in supporting product-based businesses to engage more with their audiences. Of course, these brands can incorporate AR into their websites and social media platforms but what about their packaging?

When we’re designing product packaging too often we are forced to condense key information, which means we can feel limited in what we want to share. But what if there was another way to access more information about the product.This is where AR packaging comes in. For example, by simply adding a QR code to the product’s packaging, the customer can easily access more information about the product. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the benefits of incorporating AR into your product packaging and share some examples of successful AR brand experiences.Why you should incorporate AR into your packaging

1. Connect with your audience

Incorporating AR shows you are innovating and adapting your business to the demands of a digitally-driven world. When customers scan the code, they can access an app or website. Here, you could provide answers to commonly asked questions, or present visuals and facts, to show that you are listening to the needs of your audience. This additional feature offers more depth and detail to your product and provides a fun and immersive experience.

2. Engaging and brand building

Not only is this a great way to stand out from competitors, it’s also a unique way to share your brand’s story and core identity. For example, an eco-conscious food brand might want to share more information on how their ingredients have been sourced and some easy recipes. And children’s products could get a new layer of fun and magic. Or they could make the AR experience into an interactive game.

For example, Amazon has recently launched an AR experience to their shipping boxes to bring a fun, interactive element before the box heads to the recycle bin! AR invites consumers to connect with their mission and values by adding another layer to reality.

3. Product visualisation

Sometimes seeing a product on a shelf isn’t enough. Customers want to know how it will improve and add value into their life. Here, brands can add informative, engaging visuals including videos to build an immersive experience that goes beyond the walls of a store to drive further engagement and connect with new customers. A hair product could show a tutorial video, and a tooth whitening product could give you a filter that shows you what to expect.

Now, let’s take a look at some examples of how AR packaging is successfully being used.

Herbal Essences took product visualisation to the next level by integrating their core values into their packaging. When activating the AR experience, customers are transported to an interactive beachscape which highlights the brand’s steps towards sustainability, showing how they recycle bottles to bring awareness to plastic pollution and encourage recycling. In the AR experience mini-game, users must swipe the screen to clear the plastic in the ocean.

Image: Herbal Essences via Wikitude

When it comes to creating a strong brand identity and persona, Jack Daniels is certainly in the hall of fame. In their AR experience, JD takes consumers on a virtual tour of the Jack Daniels Distillery through a series of pop-up book-style dioramas — it’s like jumping into a story book or a 19th century theatre! Here you can also learn more about the whiskey-making process and the man behind the bottles, Mr. Jack Daniels himself.

Image: Jack Daniels AR experience via The Dieline

Ribena added a playful touch to their product with an AR experience, creating an interactive app called “Doodle Your World” which invites users to ‘doodle’ on their surroundings to “Make It More Ribenary”. The app draws from the pop-culture art movement “Doodle Bombing” and uses Ribenary characters to keep it on-brand. Users are encouraged to share their doodle-bomb videos on social media and show their creativity. This campaign is part of “You Can’t Get Any More Ribenary” and follows on from Ribena’s ‘Colouring café’ activation in 2016.

Image: Ribena AR experience via Diverse Interactive

When it comes to product packaging, unboxing a product can be one of the most exciting things for customers. In collaboration with Rose Digital and Annex88, Adidas took unboxing to a whole new level by creating the first web-based augmented reality experience for the debut of their Deerupt sneaker. Teaming up with influencers such as Kendall Jenner, Adidas stirred anticipation by asking influencers to open their ‘empty’ box to find a QR code that activated the AR experience. The experience was designed to give customers a first-look at the product; admiring the Deerupt sneaker at a 3D gaze from different angles to spark excitement and allure.

Image: Screen shot from Rose Digital Facebook / Deerupt Sneaker

As the climate crisis looms, Nat Geo wanted to move away from the headlines and provide information in an interactive way. Using Instagram’s Spark AR, Nat Geo created their first augmented reality-enabled magazine cover to highlight what 12 famous cities around the world will be like in 50 years from now. Users start the experience by tapping the cover of the digital version of the magazine. Here, a 3D globe will appear; users can walk around the globe to tap on the cities. This AR experience shares valuable facts about the climate crisis by cleverly bringing the climate crisis closer to home by making it instantly accessible to instagram users.

Image: National Geographic AR Experience with Adweek

These are just five examples and benefits of what you can do with Augmented Reality in product packaging and the impact you can have with your audience. AR is an easy way to bring more engagement to your brand and share more information with your audience. We hope you feel as inspired as we do!

Cover image: Saul Sampson on Unsplash


Cover image: Saul Sampson on Unsplash

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