Smart Labels Make Spirits Come Alive

Smart Labels Make Spirits Come Alive

Smart appliances, smart clothing and now smart wines, ciders, and beers.

In a crowded shelf of wines, ciders and beers, all promoting how good they are, how can they stand out among the rest? In an increasingly connected world, the way to go is with the label, smart labels, that is.

More and more wines are dipping their toes into augmented reality to give consumers an extra reason to buy the product. The technology allows brands to animate the packaging of a bottle or can using an App or a webpage activated by pointing your smart phone to the label, making them literally come alive on the phone screens with a short video.

A Wine for a Dogg World

The latest example of this AR label movement is the launch of Snoop Dogg’s Cali Red Wine. The rapper, actor and entrepreneur is uncorking his first wine in collaboration with Australian company 19 Crimes, which takes its name from the list of charges that could get an English convict sent down under.

The Doggfather’s red blend from the Lodi region of northern California is described as “full and dense, with strong black & blue fruit notes” comprising Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Merlot.

While the release of a new product bearing the name and likeness of one of hip-hop’s most notable artists is news into itself, what really makes the wine stand out is its label.

19 Crimes’ first Californian wine features a “Living Label” that allows you to drink along with Snoop because when you download the App and point the phone at the label, he literally speaks to you, saying different phrases.

‘Living Labels’

Treasury Wine States, the Aussie firm behind 19 Crimes is one of the pioneer users of Living Labels, incorporating them into their portfolio of products to make the historical stories from The Infamous personalities that appear on their labels come alive through confessions, trailblazing actions and incredible tales.

They also use them in another of their lines, The Walking Dead Wine, which has driven high sales and over one million App downloads. The range offers four wines, a Blood Red Blend, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, each branded with a living label that brings Sheriff Rick and other characters from the famous zombie apocalyptic series to life.

“We know that it’s often difficult for consumers to select wine from a crowded shelf. We wanted to find a way to add an experiential element to selecting and purchasing wine, and make our brands stand out beyond the traditional neck tags and shelf wobblers,” said Treasury Wine States Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle Terry, speaking about the success of marketing ploy,

A Cider With an Edge

Wine is not the only drink using technology to get an edge over competitors.

Walden, New York-based hard cider company Angry Orchard has also released an augmented reality App to go along with their bottles’ labels. The App gives consumers information on tasting notes as well as meal pairing tips for their line, including recipes for entrees and desserts. Once you download the free App, dubbed “Angry Orchard Cider & Food,” hold your phone between six to 12 inches away so it can scan the label before a video appears on the screen.

The food recommendations include spicy Thai chicken wings, pulled pork sandwiches and ginger cookies for their Crisp Apple cider; prosciutto-wrapped melon, bacon and arugula pizza, New York-styled cheesecake for their sweet Rosé; beef empanadas, maple cedar plank salmon and raspberry torte for Easy Apple; and baked brie with cranberry preserves, brown buttr gnocchi, rice pudding and poached pears for light and acidic Pear cider.

Another advantage of these types of labels is that the information you can tap into can evolve and update. Angry Orchard is planning to change the content with new recipes and food recommendations.

Beer Packages That Tell a Story

The AR bug is also making its way into beer. Treasury Wine States sells 19 Crimes beer in limited locations across the U.S., all bearing smart labels.

But they’re not the only ones. Devils Backbone Brewery updated its packaging in 2019 and relaunched it with QR codes providing augmented reality videos on mobile phones.

The packages show engaging videos tied to their different beer offerings. For example, the Vienna Lager features a barn swallow that does bird impressions, the Striped Bass Pale Ale has a soulful bass fish singing about oyster restoration and clean water in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, and Goldn Leaf Lager show a highly active dog. The App also provides information about the brewery owned by Anheuser-Busch and the beers it produces.

Miller Lite also turned to AR in 2019 for a limited-edition promotion during St. Patrick’s Day where its drinkers could interact with a digital leprechaun. But they didn’t use an App. They sent buyers to a page within their website to activate the character.

And who could forget the “cold-activated cans” Coors Light debuted over a decade ago where mountain images on the cans turned blue when they reached the optimal temperature for drinking with the help of thermochromic ink, ink that changes hues in response to temperature changes.

Besides the obvious connection and added engagement these AR-linked labels provide companies, it also helps them tap into information about who is buying their product. Firms can use the data to plan rollouts and marketing campaigns.

Which means more companies will use these innovations, especially if they want to reach technology-savvy young consumers. Experts predict that in the near future, a walk down the alcohol aisle might allow you to scan from one bottle to the next and get more information about the product than you ever thought possible.

Smart labels surely give those trying them an edge over competitors on the shelf. Why pick another red wine when you can try one and enjoy it along with world renowned rapper, Snoop Dogg?

Fo shizzle my nizzle.