Augmented Reality & Product Packaging as Marketing Tools

There was a time in which goods were packed in unbranded natural materials with the sole purpose of storage and transportation. Eventually, branding and design came to play. Nowadays, packaging has a whole new level of importance in the consumer buying decision. As an effective marketing tool, the packaging industry is using augmented reality to delight and better connect with consumers.

We invited Thomas Schulz, VP Marketing & Communications, and Ildiko Bernat Pongo, Communications Manager Consumer, from packaging manufacturer Constantia Flexibles to talk about the new era of packaging & augmented reality.

When augmented reality met packaging

Some time ago, packaging was simply packaging – nothing more, nothing less. And, in reality, packaging`s primary function still is to protect a product, facilitate transportation, and extend its shelf life, amongst other things. 

But a few years ago when augmented reality (AR) technology hit the mass market, it soon caught the attention of the packaging industry. With its ability to add an extra invisible layer to packaging, some players in the packaging industry quickly understood the massive potential of AR for the sector. 

Companies from various segments saw that packaging, featuring AR, can be the ideal marketing tool enabling businesses to interact with their consumers in an innovative way. 

AR Product Packaging

Standing out from the crowd

How does the consumer access the AR experience in packaging?

After downloading a dedicated app, consumers simply have to scan the product (before or after buying it) with their smart device to see digital augmentations appearing around the package.

The digital AR content can be in various formats: 3D augmentations, video content, text with information about the product or topic of related interest, call to action leading to the online shop, digital games, coupons, prize games audios – the options are unlimited. 

The AR content can be tailored to fit the exact needs of the company goals, be it to increase brand awareness, sales, stimulate engagement or simply entertain. The producer can decide how to use the potential of simple packaging in the best way.

What is the added value of packaging enhanced with AR?

With classical packaging, communication between producer and consumer is limited to the boundaries of the physical package. Interactive augmented reality packaging opens possibilities that go far beyond, helping the product stand out on crowded shelves!

  • Value for the producer: access to a “digital portal” that once implemented, can be easily updated, modified and expanded. Digital adjustments and new content are reflected instantly, no need for new physical reprints and/or packaging redesign.
  • Value for the consumer: be it in the form of interactive user guides or product tutorials, exclusive promotional discounts, product information, content of interest, all in all, the user gets more out of the product as a whole.

According to the survey conducted in Germany by Constantia Flexibles in 2017, 69% of those surveyed would rather buy or at least take from the shelf food with interactive packaging than a similar product without an interactive feature.

Interactive packaging also influences product brands in general. Of those surveyed, 66% consider a brand with interactive elements included in its packaging to be in step with the times.

With Constantia Interactive, we have developed an innovative packaging solution that delivers what companies need as well as giving the customers what they want.
Alexander Baumgartner | CEO | Constantia Flexibles

A question of money? 

Producers may argue that augmented reality for packaging requires a significant investment, and therefore, do not even begin to consider implementing it on their packaging. But this is not the case!  For companies that already have an app, or are planning on developing one, it is just a matter of integrating the AR experience. 

As mentioned above, another positive aspect from the financial viewpoint is that the physical packaging itself does not have to change at all  – virtual content can be updated without the need of re-designing or re-producing the packaging. Forget all those expensive and time-consuming design changes.

AR & Flexible Packaging

One of the first big players in the flexible packaging industry who realized the power of AR was Constantia Flexibles, the third-largest producer of flexible packaging in the world. In 2018, the company in cooperation with Wikitude, the world’s leading independent AR technology provider, launched Constantia Interactive. Since then, the cooperation of the two companies resulted in many exciting interactive AR solutions.  

From horse medicine to dried fruit to honey and shampoo – application areas of interactive packaging are wide

  • Nutraxin

In 2019 Boehringer Ingelheim partnered with Constantia Interactive to provide more value to veterinarians and horse owners through the Nutraxin packaging. With the dedicated Nutraxin app, horse owners can track their horses’ physical condition and weight directly in an integrated diary. Thanks to augmented reality technology, the company was able to offer these additional and valuable tools to its consumers.

AR Product Packaging

With Constantia Flexibles’ interactive packaging, we can offer our customers an outstanding additional service. Through the app, which is specially adapted to our product Nutraxin, we make sure that horse owners have all the information and instruments they need to keep their horses in good health.
Ulrike Voigt | Global Brand Manager | Nutraxin at Boehringer Ingelheim

  • Fruit Bliss

US-based dried fruit and snack company, Fruit Bliss, chose interactive packaging to expand their communication beyond the physical borders of product packaging. The interactive fruit packaging informs consumers about the product, shares news, gives real-time updates of offers content in the form of video, images, links and more. 

AR Product Packaging

Fruit Bliss Interactive was developed by Constantia Interactive to provide an augmented reality experience for our customers. A simple scan of our packaging allows the consumer to learn more about our snacks, click on to our Instagram page, view our company video or sign up for our newsletter. This “WOW” packaging experience provides a fun and innovative way to learn about Fruit Bliss.
Susan Leone | Founder | Fruit Bliss

  • Mielo Honey

The latest AR solution that emerged from the cooperation between Constantia Interactive and Wikitude was the interactive solution for the Austrian organic honey producer Mielo. Thanks to Constantia Interactive a simple honey jar can turn into an interactive experience. When the consumer scans the jar with the dedicated Mielo app, they can get valuable information about the lives of bees, the importance of bee protection as well as information about the honey itself.

AR Product Packaging

Making the MIELO jar interactive, we wanted to tell the story of MIELO and draw attention to detrimental effects pesticides present to insect population and animals that feed on insects. The interactive app from Constantia Flexibles is a perfect tool to turn a simple jar into an exciting and useful experience and a perfect tool to fund the project through the sale of the fine MIELO honey.
Dr. Brandl | Founder| MIELO

What comes next?

Thanks to fast-developing technology, the story of AR for packaging has only just begun. However, as you can see, the options for AR in packaging are practically unlimited. It is up to any modern and innovative company to decide to use packaging in a more sophisticated and result-generating way. 

Convinced that your consumer base could benefit from having access to an AR-enhanced product package? Contact us to discuss which plan and technology is the best fit for you.

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