Treasury Wine Estates generated buzz this past year with its augmented reality (AR) wine labels. Consumers downloaded an app on their phones to enable the tech, and then pointed their devices at bottles of 19 Crimes and the Walking Dead wine brands. Characters on those labels then came to life (see the embedded video at the end of this article).
The result was much growth for both brands, and a sign that AR has a bright future in alcohol labeling. For more information on the genesis of this successful idea, and what comes next for AR, we recently spoke with Michelle Terry, CMO for Treasury Wine Estates.
Kyle Swartz: What was the original idea for the AR labels?
Michelle Terry: We were interested in being disruptive. We were interested in how we could do something different on the shelf and engage with consumers.
All the characters on the 19 Crimes labels have amazing backstories. And there’s no better billboard for wine than on the bottle’s label. So we were thinking about maybe doing something with VR, but then we looked into AR and we saw a great opportunity.
We built the app and launched it in July of 2017. We aw an immediate excitement from consumers, retailers and distributors. So we decided to bring it to our other brands.
KS: This included the Walking Dead wines.
MT: Through a partnership with Skybound Entertainment we put out the Walking Dead wines with AR labels. We even had a two-bottle interaction. When you put together the sheriff and the zombies they come out and fight.
We’ve seen tremendous results from that series. People who aren’t even big wine consumers told us that they’ve entered into the category because of that brand.
It’s all about finding ways to be engaging. We’ve had 1.5 million downloads of our app since it launched. It’s in the top 50 most downloaded apps in the food and beverage category. It’s really paying off in terms of sales and display at retail.
KS: Let’s talk about the importance of standing out at retail.
MT: Consumers today have a wide choice with the wines they can enjoy. One of the most important things is to create beautiful, distinct wines of high quality. But it also helps to stand out from a label standpoint.
More than 70% of purchase decisions are made at the shelf. So it’s important that you can tell an authentic brand story, and engage with retail partners who want to delight their customers.
KS: How important is tech moving forward with wine labels?
MT: Today’s consumer interacts with technology many times throughout the day. We think that consumers will increasingly live their lives through phones and other digital devices. So we want to make sure that our brands are at the forefront of technology, so we can communicate with consumers as they live lives on their devices through the digital omni-channels.
KS: I recently interviewed a digital marketer who believes the next step in AR is using labels to connect consumers to brand websites and additional digital content. Do you agree?
MT: I agree. People want to easily connect into the entire ecosystem of a brand. That includes the info on a brand: tasting notes, food pairings, transactional information, and becoming part of a digital community. That’s the future of AR.
KS: How will you refresh and evolve the AR content for your brands?
MT: We’ll be adding additional brands to the app, like Matua, Sterling, and Lindeman’s. Also, for brands with existing AR, we will think about how to refresh those experiences. Soon we’re going to launch a Walking Dead white wine line, with will have new AR experiences as well.
Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Wholesaler. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece How French Wine Labels Have Changed to Attract U.S. Consumers.