“The wine category is an incredibly confusing place for a consumer,” Treasury Wine Estates VP of brand and digital marketing Andrew Floor told BeverageDaily.
“It’s a category that’s driven by discovery and exploration … I think too many companies and too many brands take that as an excuse to keep expanding their footprint with more expressions and more varietals.”
This confusion is particularly noticeable in the wine sections of many stores, as retailers tend to sell an overwhelming plethora of options making it difficult for the 80% of consumers who make their wine purchase decisions at the shelf, Floor added.
“If you stand in front of that shelf, you’re bombarded by so many brands and so many options,” he said. “Retailers tend to put too many brands on the shelf and don’t give them enough space to present themselves and tell their story.”
The Living Wine Labels app allows consumers to experience Treasury Wine Estates wine brands in an entertaining way, according to the company.
Consumers download the app, point it at the label and watch as an animated version of the label pops up on their smart devices. With the Beringer Bros. label, an antique photo of the original brothers who started the distillery-turned-winery comes to life to tell a brief history of the brand which dates back to 1876.
Treasury Wine Estates first introduced the mobile app powered by AR to 19 Crimes in August 2017 and then extended the experiential technology to Chateau St. Jean, Gentleman’s Collection, The Walking Dead, and most recently, Beringer Bros. wine labels.
The app has been downloaded over 1 million times, according to the company.
“We will expand it across the portfolio for whichever brands make sense,” Floor added.
Knowing your audience
Each label provides a different AR experience depending on the brand, according to Floor.
“We want to make sure we’re getting the right content to the right people,” he said.
“For brands that are less about tasting notes and Wine Spectator scores we need to make sure our content is appropriate for that audience.”
For a brand like 19 Crimes, which is intentionally aimed at millennial wine drinkers, the AR experience seeks to create intrigue and suspense with labels that feature vintage photos of former British convicts who became Australian colonists in the late 1700s and turn into talking heads to tell their historic tales via the app.
With a more traditional wine brand like Chateau St. Jean, the AR storytelling experience was rooted in a sharing the history of the vineyard and education on the winemaking process.
“We want this to be value-added, this is about story telling. It’s not a promotional gimmick for us,” he said.
Future of AR in wine packaging
Treasury Wine Estates sees digital engagement as a key driver of the wine category as it strives to become a guide for consumers navigating the wine section and believes AR can play a major role.
“We’re using a tech-based solution because we’re living in an increasingly digital world across demographics,” Floor said
The company’s CEO Michael Anthony Clarke also wants to be a leader in this space as it moves from an “agricultural business to a brand-led business.”
To be closer to technology and digital innovation, Treasury Wine Estates moved its main US offices from Napa to Oakland, California (due East of San Francisco).
“This is so much more than a single brand communication vehicle; this is an opportunity for us to really become leaders and innovators in the wine category and to help shoppers navigate this incredibly fragmented category,” Floor said.