Millennials are accustomed to pulling out their phones and scanning QR codes, whether it’s to read a menu at a restaurant or to learn more about a product, but the QR code on the average bottle of wine just got much more interesting.
Some wine brands want you to drink wine in the real world while exploring the world of augmented reality at the same time.
Living wine labels
Emerging wine brand 19 Crimes transports their customers to a historical mystery based on British prisoners sent to Australia for committing one of 19 crimes. Every bottle tells the story of a different prisoner, which you can unlock through augmented reality and your phone. The brand calls these “living wine labels.”
To fully unlock the experience, customers need to download an app that helps unlock the stories. The experience has been compared to Pokemon Go. In 19 Crimes’ case, the prisoner comes to life and tells you their story in their own words, providing some extra entertainment while you sip.
The inspiration for the crimes started with the British prisoners, but this year the brand released collaborations with Snoop Dog and Martha Stewart, whose Chardonnay received 91 points by Wine Enthusiast.
Treasury Wine Estates, which owns 19 Crimes, worked with Vuforia Engine to create the app. Vuforia Engine is the leading development software for “creating powerful, photo-realistic augmented reality experiences.”
TV fans also can join in on the fun with brands such as The Walking Dead wines, where fans’ favorite zombie hunters clash with their nemesis. Two bottles can even interact with each other on the drinker’s phone.
Will millennials drink to augmented reality?
Can this be a way to sell more wine to reluctant millennial wine drinkers? Millennials are consuming far less wine than their baby boomer predecessors. Millennials are less loyal to brands as well, with only 24% knowing what they were going to buy before walking into the store. But they also want a brand that matches their values.
This makes the label that much more important.
Wine drinkers are looking for brands with a unique story or narrative, and that’s precisely what 19 Crimes provides.
“19 Crimes defies convention. This is a wine brand that tells a rich and authentic story, and has proven to have strong appeal to millennial consumers,” said Michelle Terry, chief marketing officer in the Americas for Treasury Wine Estates, in 2017. “It is, without doubt, one of our most successful innovations.”
In 2017, the brand shipped more than one million cases, and it grew 60% in volume sales and 70% in value, according to Better Retailing.
The augmented reality feature builds interest in the brand and can motivate customers to try other types of wine because they’re curious about the different wines.
How other brands can join the world of augmented reality
“Wine is a confusing category,” says Ming Alterman, Director of Digital, Performance, and Partnerships at Treasury Wine Estates. “There are hundreds of thousands of wineries and brands. So as a consumer, how do you choose from that when many bottles look the same, and there isn’t much information on the label?”
Adding a QR code or augmented reality segment to a brand’s label can help create buzz around the wine and help it stand out from competitors.
Of course, it takes some innovation and money to create this augmented world and bring it to life. According to the ITRrex group, a typical augmented reality app will cost between $25,000 and $35,000, taking two or three months of development. While augmented reality may require an upfront investment, it could end up paying dividends for an organization.
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