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What is connected packaging?

By Jenny Stanley, Managing director

June 15, 2020 | 7 min read

We often ask ourselves what constitutes marketing’s panacea; its solution to all, something that makes your customers feel unique. Something that offers personalised experiences while delivering more bang for your buck in advertising campaigns; something that leads to new and unique products based on the data collected and then gives those products brand-strengthening authenticity.

connected packaging

Well, there is no magic panacea of course – but there is connected packaging.

Modern connected packaging will give consumers a look through the door into your shop; a look inside the delivery vans and the factory floor. Information such as where the product was made; where the components or ingredients that made it came from; and where the package may be taken to be recycled. On top of that, it is itself a doorway into the world that is a brand, a game, an app, and a quiz, while the feedback potential will link customers under the same branded parasol.

It offers real-time monitoring of the supply chain, which itself will become fully transparent, for retailers and e-commerce businesses. It will communicate stock movement, highlight problems, and track delivery.

At Appetite Creative, we do more than raise sales, drive awareness and collect first-party data. We can actually tell, with unique QRs, the time it takes from start of production to the product being in consumers‘ hands: Real insights affecting the whole supply chain right up to the logistics.

Of course, one major player in the packaging game, and one which is updating itself more than Madonna, is Tetra Pak, and we have been delighted to partner with them in recent times.

Fun and sustainable

In recent times, Tetra Pak has been more focused than ever on its environmental impact. Its work around sustainability has gained recognition. Our first contact with the organisation came when the team approached us with an eco-themed idea to build a fun mobile quiz which tests the user‘s knowledge about recycling and Tetra Pak‘s environmental impact.

The aim was to add more trees to the forest, and so, whenever the player would answer a question correctly, he or she would see a tree growing. If all of the questions were answered correctly, the forest would rise, and the number of trees grown, in total, would represent the user's score.

We recently hosted a webinar involving Tetra Pak‘s digital solutions manager for Europe and central Asia, Alessio Schiavone, along with other industry experts. You can watch it here or read about it here. You'll see Alessio speak about how his company increased sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, and whether it’s best to stick to the basics or take the chance of pivoting and learning more.

We also spoke about how much more data can be collected and the impact of this throughout business; and that all-important physical contact point between what the brand does and what the end consumer gets.

Connected AR

A vital element of the future of packaging will be augmented reality (AR). So much has been said about augmented reality already that it seems a somewhat muddy subject. But AR is a portal builder that can transform a piece of packaging into a doorway to your brand ecosystem, via high quality, branded content, be it a selfie app with cool filters, a quiz, a competition, or even a story of sustainability. The package, thanks to AR, can now show everything about the people who make and believe in what's inside. Open the can and enjoy a backstage tour of the studio; take a selfie there and share it with your friends; and don't forget to enjoy the products, obviously.

Another product we helped with was Coca-Cola's Rani Float, one of Coca-Cola's most fun and innovative products, including real fruit pieces. Coca-Cola asked Appetite Creative to create a competition to engage its young audience across all four flavours of the drink. The two new flavours had been struggling to get attention and the brand wanted cutting edge technology, fantastic design, and unique experience. We developed an AR experience in which users could scan their soft drink cans, ensuring they had all four flavours, and enter competitions to win prizes. Once done, all could be shared effortlessly on social media. The results smashed through all targets and expectations.

Our rum-making friends Bacardi also took note of what an immersive experience can bring to a product. Using Bacardi’s branding, we created a gorgeous-looking, perfectly functional experience that included a host of thumb-engaging activities such as personality tests to find your perfect serve and a fact of the day. The star of the show was Rum Roulette, a chance to win a bottle of Bacardi rum or a voucher to redeem a mojito in participating bars. Repeat visits to the site and a fun incentive for the product, data collection and customer engagement, all in one experience

On a more kid-friendly note, Swiss dairy company Emmi wanted to be one of the first on the market to engage with consumers digitally, while also educating their key audience about the benefits of their range and their new added vitamin D Emmi Good Day milk drink. To achieve this, we created a web redesign and online competition which focused on using on-pack unique QR codes on Tetra Prisma Aseptic 1000ml packaging.

To launch the product, we created an online quiz that customers could enter by using their mobile phones to scan a unique, one-time-use QR code located on the side panel of the Tetra Prisma Aseptic 1000 Square packages of the Emmi Good Day milk products. We are right now working on the next project – keep your eyes peeled.

With our connected experiences, you can transform your packaging into a media channel through the use of technology. Imagine using that space like you would a TV channel or online publisher. Communicate your messages and understand the rich data behind it. Use QR codes on your packaging to connect your audiences to digital experiences, and to draw correlations between age, location, day, length of engagement, and brand, all whilst engaging, educating and interacting with your audience and, of course, driving sales.

At Appetite, we can help you understand the benefits and the possibilities of things you didn't even know could be connected.

Jenny Stanley, founder and managing director, Appetite Creative Solutions


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