Why sustainably-minded brands use augmented reality: Page 2 of 2

By Caspar Thykier in Smart Packaging on October 28, 2019


Connected Packaging and AR are being used not only for spatial storytelling both to surprise and delight users, but also crucially inform and instruct when it comes to imparting information about a brand’s purpose, provenance and sustainability.

What we’re seeing is that these use cases are dramatically increasing the level of active brand engagement and click-through rates versus other media. And the data captured is helping brands take other important decisions about their new product development, marketing and media strategies.

The science supports it, too. The neuroscience of AR speaks to delivering higher levels of attention (almost double) and all-important memory recall (75% higher) versus other channels. 

AR-enabled packaging, with its infinite scalability and eco-friendly implementation, can achieve both the reduction in environmental impact while maintaining brand impact and user engagement. Grab a smartphone and turn packaging into a digital discovery channel, increasing transparency about product provenance and ingredients and creating meaningful moments of assistance for all the family, all while driving purchase intent, loyalty and repeat sales.


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Nestlé’s cereal division serves as an example of a business adapting to a changing market as well as adopting new brand engagement methods using AR. The old marketing idiom of cereal promotions was all about including toys and FGWP’s (Free Gift With Purchase) in the boxes. Nestlé realized they could achieve the same effect through digital rewards using AR whilst reducing their environmental footprint and overall costs. This was most recently brought to life in their AR campaign on-pack across 30+ markets centered on the new Lion King movie, coinciding with its release. Engagement was simple: customers scanned the back of the pack to enjoy three different educational puzzles and mini activities and unlocked video clips from the forthcoming movie.


In truth, there’s nothing new here, but the real shift is in taking existing tried-and-tested marketing models and making them relevant for the digital age. The fantastic by-product of this move is a simple way to decrease a brand’s environmental impact, increase engagement and interactivity while reducing cost and getting better metrics on campaign performance.

Brands are waking up to the potential available to them right on their packaging, which is their greatest owned media opportunity and data resource. A thoughtful AR campaign can turn mundane, wasteful packaging into a launchpad for an educational, entertaining, and rewarding experience whilst reducing waste. Give the most staunch environmentalist customer a look at the behind-the-scenes process of creating your product, make a meaningful connection with a customer so that they want to continue to engage with your product through a rewards program, or create a game that children can enjoy through a smartphone instead of creating more plastic bound for landfill. AR makes all of this possible using only some creativity and thoughtfulness.

The tech bit is easy. Congratulations to Burger King for doing the right thing for the planet, their customers and their business. Building out a connected pack camera strategy for the business in the new age of spatial storytelling is the next step.

Caspar Thykier

Caspar Thykier is co-founder and CEO of Zappar, a company that works in augmented reality for product packaging and in stores on mobile.



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Digimarc can only help with AR! It is coming ....brands and retailers need to wake up