I saw Packaging Future and its Name is Augmented Reality

Buenos Aires, February 15th, 2029. Cynthia rushes into the supermarket during a hot summer night. Guests arrive at her house in thirty minutes. Fortunately, choosing a wine for the occasion has never been easier. The augmented reality (AR) interface of her smart glasses showcase on the shelf the three ideal options according to the tastes of her friends. As soon as she stares at a label of Malbec, an experience unfolds plunging her into a glorious sunset in front of the Andes mountain range. A simple touch on her intelligent bracelet confirms the purchase. Suddenly a geolocalized reminder pops up: “don’t forget the juice for the children”. Assisted by the virtual store navigation she finds in a fraction of a second the juice section. Sofia smiles. The package of her children’s favourite juice brand informs her that the new season has been published. She already imagines the happiness of Alex and Maia. Tomorrow they will share the new AR games during breakfast before leaving to the office.

Fun, adventures, instructions, knowledge, recipes, immersion. Augmented experiences are now available to everyone. How can we take advantage of this opportunity for brands? How can we delight and surprise consumers with packaging design in new ways that were not possible before?


As part of an AR campaign, a series of animated characters were created for the 19 Crimes wine label, which through AR makes the various characters portrayed on the labels talk to the consumer.

Over the past 30 years we have embarked on a journey that has simplified the way in which we interact with technology. We are entering a new era of immersive computing where the barriers between reality and the virtual world have begun to break down. The virtual future is here and it is no longer science fiction.

Augmented reality improves what we see by superimposing digital content to the real world. Suddenly, packaging becomes a canvas for brands to tell stories. It provides consumers with an immersive experience where they can interact with virtual content in the real world. It allows even a humble cardboard box to entertain or inform the consumer in ways that are magical and practical.

At a time when shoppers are demanding transparency, consumers can learn more about products and also participate in contests, get recipes, join loyalty programs, receive relevant personalized offers, and entertain themselves with a simple touch of their device.

Given that consumers, particularly Millennials, are technology-driven and require fast and thorough information before making a purchase decision, there is great potential to capture their attention at the moment of purchase by including AR in packaging.

Every great innovation begins with human needs. Before adopting augmented reality, the question we must ask ourselves is: What human need are we meeting?


As part of an AR campaign, a series of animated characters were created for the 19 Crimes wine label, which through AR makes the various characters portrayed on the labels talk to the consumer.

The key to establishing AR as a new form of communication is to make the combination between the real and the virtual crucial, where virtual content is connected to reality in a compelling and meaningful way. Content should drive technology deployment, not the other way around.

An AR packaging experience must relate to all other brand values and be produced with the same care as any other marketing channel. Brands need to think through which ideas add genuine value to the consumer and which ideas are frivolous or simply irrelevant.

Soon consumers will expect all surrounding surfaces, including packaging, to offer additional layers of digital content. A world where every packaging will be an invitation to an adventure. Taking advantage of these technologies will allow us to bridge the gap between the physical and the digital, overcoming the limits of brand experience.


When the consumer scans Black Beer smart label, the skull character initiates an interactive dialogue with him. The facial recognition feature detects whether the customer is happy or sad, customizing the dialog.

Augmented reality experiences in packaging will lead this trend, as millions of mass consumer products will offer interactively provenance data, instructions, recipes, promotions or discounts. As brands develop their presence in this space, people will not only start looking for these additional layers of content, but will come to expect them.

Now that packaging is becoming part of the digital revolution, what is the best way to improve its communication potential? It’s about creating content that is genuinely engaging. Content that invites consumers to have a conversation, interact or even co-create new ideas.

British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke formulated a law related to scientific advancement: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. Cynthia, on that hot summer night, couldn’t agree more.