How Packaging Is Using Augmented Reality to Drive Engagement

Upgrading AR into Real Experiences



Colin McMahon


Certain print providers have been investing into print-based augmented reality (AR) for the last several years. We have had many conversions with companies such as Konica Minolta and RealityBLU over the advantages AR can bring to print in terms of driving engagement and elevating print off the page and into a more aggressive communication medium.


As futuristic as AR may still seem, however, it remains only a tool—one that is being consistently developed and refined as the technology becomes more mainstream. We’ve heard two cautionary tales at Keypoint surrounding AR. One is that print companies should be careful about the number of apps they expect their users to install. The second is that all AR experiences are wonderful simply by virtue of being AR experiences.


Today’s blog looks at two recent examples of print-based AR done right and reflects how each avoids the two potential downfalls of print-based AR.


Kellogg’s and the (Burger) King of AR

Recently, both cereal provider Kellogg’s and fast food provider Burger King made headlines for innovative new AR experiences tied to their product packaging. Kellogg’s launched a Europe-focused campaign designed to allow children to use AR to personalize their cereal boxes. Kids must find three codes and then use them with a dedicated website set up by Kellogg’s. Once all three codes have been implemented, the cereal box will transform to reveal information about the child, such as their school year, favorite color, and what they would like to be when they are older. Basically, AR transforms the cereal box into a reflection of the child, highlighting them like a superstar.


Burger King’s AR campaign is a little simpler. With the help of a WebAR experience, purchasers of the famous whopper can see a concert performed directly on top of their whopper packaging. Rapper Tinie Tempah contracted with Burger King to perform and record his new hit single “Whoppa” for this new special promotional campaign.


Both campaigns have been met with positive reception as many view them as examples of the next step for print-based AR marketing experiences—ones that engage an audience with minimum effort.


Image Source: Muse by CLIO


The Importance of WebAR and Worthwhile Engagement

Many companies are trying their hand with AR experiences right now. For most, especially in the beginning, this involved the creation of an app. After all, what better way to gather user data than an app designed to track engagement? On paper, this is a sound strategy. Two problems quickly emerged, however.


The first involved the sheer number of apps. Want to look at this AR experience? You need this app. Oh, now you want to look at this AR experience? Well, you need a totally different app…to do pretty much the same thing. Imagine if the camera on your smartphone worked this way and you needed specialized apps for everything you wanted to take a picture of. It would get tired real fast.


The second is more important: What is the work for? Sure, it is relatively easy to continue to download apps and input information and get accounts set up. None of this is particularly challenging. That said, it is all time intensive. Setting up each profile might take five minutes—but if, at the end of the day, the reward is a crude generic animation, then what was the point? Are users really expected to continue to spend five minutes to get an experience they can see on YouTube within five seconds?


The quality of the AR experience really matters. It is the paramount priority when creating a print-based AR solution. If the end result is subpar, the user is less likely to engage in the future. Let’s take another look at Kellogg’s and Burger King.


Both experiences were created without requiring a dedicated app—so no installation required. The Kellogg’s experience prioritized a personalized experience, one that required more work but will, hopefully, be worth it in the eyes of the child. The Burger King promotion has no personalization but provides a relevant experience for those buying a whopper. While they eat their sandwich, their wrapper can become a dance floor for their very own private concert.


Data collected by Keypoint Intelligence shows that the Burger King AR experience is nothing new. Roughly 30% of users who have experienced AR have seen an animation, while another 32% have seen a video. The personalization element brought by Kellogg’s is newer and arguably more impressive.


Data from the recent Keypoint Intelligence Immersive Imaging Survey


AR is still in its infancy and print companies are not alone in figuring out how to make the technology work for them. The only real mistake that can be made now is assuming that, because it sounds so technologically advanced, AR is not directly related to print and not worth any kind of investment. Companies like Kellogg’s and Burger King are using AR to reinvent their packages, transforming them into sources of user engagement to further enhance the experience.


There is no reason this inventiveness and ingenuity cannot be repeated across the print industry. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage across America, now is the time to think about deepening engagement with consumers who are desperate for new distractions. If your company is looking for help understanding and implementing AR solutions, please reach out to us for expert assistance.