Over the last year or two we have talked a lot about smart packaging to our clients. Increasingly we are seeing the coming together of traditional physical formats of information with digital media to provide consumers with additional layers of experience and knowledge.
The example above is ‘ATMOS Quick Fix Pipe Repair’ – my husband bought it to fix a leak in our drainpipe. It is a tape that contains fibreglass and various hazardous chemicals that warranted warning signs and complementary latex gloves. It also provided simple instructions along with a link to an online video demo. Within seconds he was watching a ‘how to’ video on his iPhone and within a few more seconds he was confident that he knew exactly what he was doing as he hung out the window to fix our leak.
Of course, the next step in this particular example would be to have a QR Code rather than the written link that the user has to type out. Many brands are now using QR codes to quickly bring consumers into their online domain whether for the purpose of building brand value or increasing volume of sales. Whilst the use of these form of codes is still fairly novel, we will be seeing more of them not only because consumers want better control over how they engage with brands, products and packaging, but also that they enjoy the reassurance they get from this added layer of information. In Packaging News last year, marketing manager Matthew Parkers talked about how this trend is already dominant in Japan, yet still only emerging in Europe:
“The 2D bar code will really make the bar code more of a consumer interface. In Western Europe we are seeing customers wanting to know more about where their food is coming from.”
Kelly Brooke likes them. Pepsi uses QR codes on their cans to connect consumers to online competitions
The mobile phone is a lens through which to gain more when necessary, whether that is more instruction, more content or more experience. This is not just a bonus for consumers, who can opt in and out of information as an when they need it. It also allows designers the freedom to remove some of the clutter that mandatory information, promotional competitions and brand messaging creates on packaging and design something beyond paper or plastic. Although we are yet to see many examples, this will hopefully inspire a new era of beautiful and well thought out packaging design that takes advantage of the new dimension the web offers.
P.S. I’ve called this blog post “Smarter packaging” because really there is a whole lot more on ‘Smart Packaging’ which takes these concepts to different level, but I will leave that for another post!