Whoever said alcohol and technology don’t mix was wrong, very wrong. A new Smartphone application turns an ordinary liquor bottle label into an immersive customer experience like no other.
Purists might say, “I don’t need AR to sell my liquor, it speaks for itself.” Well, that may have been true 20 years ago before the craft boom lead to more than 1,500 distilleries, 5,000 plus breweries and over 10,000 wineries competing for shelf space in the liquor store, back bar and restaurant but in today’s hyper competitive world, you need an edge. Part of what makes the beverages interesting is the story, the experience, knowing that what’s in the bottle not only tastes great but has a great back story. This new app takes the immersive experience to a new level before one ever leaves the store.
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This particular application was built for Treasury Wine Estates headquartered in Melbourne, Australia with help from J. Walter Thompson and Tactic both of San Francisco. Together, they created a series of animated characters for the company’s various wine brands. The app is less than a year old but already counts more than 1 million Android and iPhone users. The high tech Smartphone app marries to an ordinary paper label designed to work with the app to create a fun, immersive experience that engages today’s tech savvy consumers.
What’s the Difference Between Virtual Reality (VR) vs. Augmented Reality (AR)?
Let’s talk a little bit about some of today’s technology buzz words. You often hear about AR and VR and many people think they are the same thing. They are really quite different and actually quite easy to understand once you know the difference. Here’s a snippet from an Infographic that spells it out. The full Infographic with a bit more detail is included below if you want to know more.
Virtual Reality (VR) is a fully immersive, simulated computer generated experience incorporating 3D visuals, video, sound, motion and eventually, touch, holograms and scent. Using a headset you can be transported to another place or time with an immersive 360° view.
Augmented Reality (AR) blends virtual reality with objects and places in the real world to heighten the experience of places, objects and events. Ask your kids about Pokeman Go. Treasury Wine Estates brands 19 Crimes and The Walking Dead technology is an AR application.
Developing a custom app along with characters, stories, voiceover and animation is not cheap. For competitive reasons, Treasury Wine Estates was not willing to share the costs but they did say that, “It’s not inconsiderable.”
The Stories of ’19 Crimes’ and ‘The Walking Dead’
I asked Treasury Wine Estates, Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Terry how they got started with the app idea and she said, “Early on we found that consumers were really responding to the authentic story behind 19 Crimes, and in building on that passion and relationship we found that augmented reality, having the real people on those labels tell their own story, was an exciting way to connect with 19 Crimes buyers. The Walking Dead wines are similar in that there is an established fan base for the comic series and show, and extending that experience through augmented reality is another exciting way to build a connection and more meaningful relationship with Treasury Wine Estates consumers.”
Once a user downloads the free app from Google Play or Apple iTunes they are ready to start exploring. Users simply fire up the app, point it at the label, which when triggered, has the various characters portrayed on the labels begin to speak to the user. Tactic combined their expertise in character animation and visual effects work with their knowledge of mobile augmented reality and created the integrated user experience.
The 19 Crimes label is modeled upon the history of the founding of Australia as an English Penal colony and the label depicts various prisoners who were banished to their new fate. Tactic cast various voice talent to portray these characters and modeled the characters to seamlessly animate from each of the brands signature lines. The criminal rogues on the label of each 19 Crimes wine come to life to tell their own story.
Point your Smartphone to The Walking Dead labels and you’ll see Sheriff Rick Grimes staring down the undead. When the app is launched the Sheriff fights off the “walkers” in the wine aisle. The Walking Dead label features a horde of zombies that break out of the label onto the phone screen. Pointing the app at two labels, side by side, triggers the characters to fight each other. Corks are collectible, featuring a variety of images such as barbed wire, a walker hand and an undead head. Watch the video to see the two character battle (I’ll admit it, it’s really cool!)
The easiest way to explain how this works is to simply to watch the video then let your story teller mind whirl with ideas on how this could work for your liquor brand.
The company now has four of five labels up and running. And, I’ll share a little secret with you, you don’t have to have the actual bottle to see the experience for yourself but, you do have to download the app from Google Play or Apple iTunes. One note, I did have to use two real bottles of wine to get the Sheriff to kill the Zombie. It took a few tries to get bottles just right but as you can see in the video, it was worth the effort.
All the labels will bring entertainment and engaging experiences to the wine aisle beginning in February, 2018.