Zappar Sales Manager, Jeremy Yates, pens his first blog on the use of augmented reality on packaging and the opportunity it offers to a whole host a industries.

Jeremy Yates, Sales Manager, Zappar

Remember when Innocent Smoothies burst onto the scene in the early noughties, capturing customers’ hearts (and wallets) with its quirky branding? What really differentiated Innocent from its rivals in the supermarket chiller was its packaging, which used every last inch of space as a mouthpiece for its brand personality.

Fast-forward to 2015 and packaging remains a big focus for brands looking to stand out from competitors, engage customers and strengthen brand image in a market that’s more competitive than ever before. Ever-changing EU regulation on what must be included on packaging, meanwhile, is leaving brands with more to include on dwindling amounts of real estate.

Enter augmented reality – a unique channel through which brands can engage customers and build real, tangible value into packaging. Zappar’s been doing some really exciting work in this space, and it’s all part of the journey towards a pretty ambitious goal – to make the zapcode ubiquitous across packaging.

Take our work with Arca Continental in Mexico, which has seen us roll out zapcodes on its Prispas and Wise crisp packets. Users can take a French-themed selfie complete with neckerchief, beret or moustache via packets of flavoured crisps, or pose with Wise’s famous owl mascot. Snaps can then be shared across social channels, bridging the on and offline experience.

We’ve worked with Wendy’s in the US to create AR-enabled packaging that enables kids to keep occupied with a Scooby Doo game, while a partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts in the Philippines has seen one of the region’s best-known actors come to life on the lid of a donut box. This is a prime example of how augmented reality can give brands an opportunity to share engaging content they wouldn’t ordinarily have space for.

We also see AR becoming a natural extension of the QR codes that have become common across packaging. The wine sector is an area where the QR code has really taken off – our Zappar Partner for Africa is working with a South African winery to incorporate zapcodes onto their bottles.

What makes Zappar such a distinctive offering in this space is the ability for brands to place unique codes on products, so we can track data from each individual code to get granular insights into how consumers are interacting. Another bonus is that zapcodes can be really small so they don’t need to take up lots of real estate.

Packaging is a really exciting area that opens up a wealth of possibilities when it comes to engaging consumers, and we think AR is the perfect portal to do this. It’s time to put packaging centre stage!