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Coca-Cola and Ball jump on latest interactive packaging trend with new can

By Helen Glaberson , 26-May-2011
Last updated on 26-May-2011 at 17:01 GMT

Coca-Cola's new beverage can is printed with a Quick Response (QR) code
Coca-Cola's new beverage can is printed with a Quick Response (QR) code

Coca-Cola and Ball are launching a new high-tech beverage can to address the latest interactive packaging trend they claim is grabbing the attention of young consumers.

The new 25cl Coca-Cola cans are printed with a Quick Response (QR) code which, when scanned by a smart phone camera, takes the phone browser straight to an online “Coke Music Portal.”

The QR code offers a great opportunity to create a new promotion, Ball spokesperson Sylvia Blömker, told BeverageDaily.com.

It allows the manufacturer to communicate with and attract young consumers, a vital target group for the beverage can market, she said.

Augmented reality

The Coca-Cola collaboration follows Ball’s recent launch of an “augmented reality” (AR) print campaign in Germany, in cooperation with Zurheide, a retailer operating several Edeka grocery stores.

Through a computer device, the AR system generates a virtual experience for the viewer, combining both real and virtual scenes.

As part of the Ball/Edeka promotion, smart phone owners with junaio, a smart phone application, can point their camera at a print advert and view a video clip on their mobiles.

This type of packaging doesn’t require a QR code phone, said Blömker. Instead it is activated by predefined elements such as an image or a logo.

However, in terms of QR codes, Coca-Cola is the first company to join forces with Ball to launch this new technology.

Ball is also currently working with an unnamed German brewery, which is soon to launch a QR packaged product, said Blömker.

Although Ball hasn’t yet had any further requests from other beverage manufacturers to launch a QR campaign, Blömker is confident there will be more.

It might only be the start, the technology could even be developed further, Blömker added.

Product information

“The new technology is an interesting way of elevating the moment of consumption through additional sensory experiences, adding hearing to taste and sight,” Bryn MacGregor, senior consumer analyst at Datamonitor told this publication.

QR codes can offer an effective means of providing product information to consumers at point of sale or actual use, such as user instructions, nutritional content storage conditions and provenance, said MacGregor.

The technology can also offer other benefits, for example, packaged goods companies can easily obtain further information on their consumers and their habits, said the analyst.

“The codes are readily trackable so information can be generated in areas such as geographic location and promotional take up,” he said.

However QR codes are not the future of beverage product packaging, he said, although they will “undoubtedly” have relevance in specific sectors where manufacturers are trying to engage with specific demographics, said MacGregor.

“Other factors such as sustainability will continue to play a major role in choice of packaging choice,” he added.

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