4 AR Labels That Shook the Industry

AR-enhanced living wine labels from 19 Crimes

The idea of using augmented reality (AR) to boost a product was, until recently, something only found in the world of Harry Potter. Now, businesses using AR for their labeling is a fairly common practice—and something that shows a real return on the investment.

How Does AR Work on a Product Label?

Current AR technology is possible with most modern smartphones. Using the device’s camera, an AR reader app scans the surrounding environment and enhances the display for the user. This technology has evolved tremendously in just a few short years; AR is making incredible strides in fields outside of marketing like medical training, education, public safety and product development. Today, AR labels can provide customers with real-time product demonstrations, supplemental information, previews of how products will look and function.

RELATED ARTICLE: Augmented Reality vs. QR Codes

AR Labeling Success Stories

Companies considering AR-enabled labels for their branded products should look at some of the most recent successful AR campaigns. Four of the most impressive AR label examples from recent years include:

  • Buffalo Wild Wings. Everyone knows that Buffalo Wild Wings is a great place to enjoy good food and a game with friends and family. It’s also a great place for customers who enjoy tableside competitive games. Buffalo Wild Wings recently took tableside competitive games to the next level with an AR-enhanced viewing experience with the Big Shot Challenge for the NCAA Final Four.

  • Lego. Kids of all ages have enjoyed building with Lego for years, and the company just took their experience to the next level with AR-enabled viewing screens in their brick-and-mortar store locations. When a customer carries a box over to an AR screen, the screen starts playing a real-time AR display of the Lego set coming together on top of the box.

  • Red Bull. The Red Bull marketing team created the Red Bull Augmented Reality Racing game to provide customers with the unique experience of crafting their own digital racetracks using Red Bull cans, which they could then race using a smartphone or camera-enabled touchscreen device like an iPod Touch.

  • 19 Crimes. Think of this as Pokémon Go for adults. The name of this wine refers to 18th century Britain and a list of crimes that were punishable by “transportation”—offenders were sent to live in Australia in lieu of suffering the death penalty. Some of these infractions include impersonating an Egyptian, stealing letters, and bigamy. Now, these “criminals” come to life and tell their side of the story through inventive AR labels

AR can offer surprising, memorable, and valuable experiences in countless ways. Virtually every modern smartphone has a camera, and developing an AR-enabled app is easier than one might expect.

RELATED ARTICLE: 3 Features of AR Packaging You May Not Be Considering

Capture Your Audience’s Attention with AR-Enabled Product Labels

Century Label has nearly 40 years of experience helping customers create beautiful, memorable labels for various industries and applications, and we can help you transform a traditional label into a living experience.

Our label design team will work closely with you to determine the best applications for AR technology in your product labels, taking you through every step of the process, preserving the integrity of your brand and using high-quality printing techniques. Contact us today to learn more about AR-enabled labels and start thinking of the possibilities for your brand.

How to Use Nostalgia in Your Label Design

Old Fashioned Extraction from Sun King Brewery and Founder’s Collection Apple Blossom from Hella Cocktail Co.

From television series like GLOW, Stranger Things and the reboot of Twin Peaks to the the “throwback” versions of Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper to the ‘80s and ‘90s dance parties that are popping up in cities across the country, the nostalgia marketing industry has seen a lot of success in the past few years.

Nostalgia can be used as a temporary change or promotional motif to suggest a special edition/limited product or i can utilize colors, fonts, and styles of the past to create a unique label for an entire product line. Companies that are interested in a retro-themed product line or just want to shake things up temporarily with a bit of nostalgia-driven marketing should remember—it all starts with the label.

How Does Nostalgia Marketing Work?

The businesses who see the greatest success with nostalgia marketing are those that successfully capture the essence of the past with an eye toward the future. It’s essential for marketers to find a good balance between pulling at heartstrings and maintaining a campaign that sells. Some parts of the past are better left in the past, so it’s vital for any brand hoping to capitalize on nostalgia marketing to do so tastefully.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Use Color Psychology in Your Favor

Best Practices for Nostalgia Marketing

  • Know your audience. Marketers that attempt to make nostalgic emotional content aimed at tugging at their audience’s heartstrings should know their audience. Nostalgia is very different for a Gen-Xer than it is for a baby boomer, and older millennials will likely have very different ideas of what makes good nostalgic content.

  • Plan ahead. The past cannot be successfully romanticized through marketing without a plan for the future. Some of the most successful nostalgic content in recent years only succeeded because it resonates with progress toward the future.

  • Leave room for growth. Brand identity should be the cornerstone of every marketing campaign, and nostalgia marketing doesn’t require an entire overhaul of a brand image. Ideally, nostalgia marketing or a nostalgic redesign of a logo or website should be a temporary change, and brand message and tone can be maintain while still capturing a nostalgic flair with just a few subtle tweaks to the content structure.

Custom Labels for Nostalgia Marketing

Interested in launching a limited-time product promotion with a nostalgic theme?

Century Label has helped many clients develop unique, functional, and sustainable product packaging with nostalgic themes. A retro marketing campaign could generate renewed interest in your products or cultivate stronger bonds with your customer base.

The Century Label team will work with you every step of the process to ensure your nostalgia marketing campaign stays on-message with your brand values and hits the right notes with your audience, so contact us today for more information.

A Few of Our Favorite Labels

Amoretti Artisan Natural Flavors Black Cherry

Featuring a beautiful soft gradient in the background and behind the nutrition panel, the label for Amoretti Artisan Natural Flavors Black Cherry conveys the message that a delicious product awaits the consumer. The matte finish sets off the stark color, while the detail on the image gives the impression that the black cherries could be picked clean off the paper.

“The graphics really pop on the label. The matte lamination is one of my favorite looks and gives the product a great modern look.” - Susan Ramos

Amoretti Flori di Scilia

The Amoretti Floria di Scilia piece pairs the use of silver BOPP with white accents to produce the metallic border and the accents on the letters in the Amoretti logo. With the digital press, we were able to achieve an impressively smooth gradient on the image in the center of the label. The glossy finish gives the label a clean, classy look.

“The use of the silver and the subtle drop shadow enhance the overall look of the final product. With our digital printing we are able to hold a 1:1 registration, making for a beautiful finished product.” - Susan Ramos

Sun King Brewery Electric Reindeer

Now in its second year, the Winterlights festival, held on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has quickly become a popular Christmastime destination. This year, Indianapolis-based Sun King Brewery partnered with the festival to create Electric Reindeer, a seasonal brown ale that was available exclusively to attendees. The shrink sleeve reflects the visual aesthetic of the festival, employing a contrast of neon colors on a dark background and depicting the actual light displays. The reindeer is especially impressive in the way that it appears almost illuminated. A light gradient in the background and the out-of-process red add to the dramatic impression that the sleeve makes.

“This was a new can layout for us and we loved the way that the graphics fit the can. It is a great use of the shrink sleeve product.” - Susan Ramos

Sun King Brewery Old Fashioned Extraction

The Sun King Old Fashioned Extraction label was created for Sun King's limited King's Reserve line. The customer requested the metallic element and we achieved this by simulating Pantone 7599 C (orange) and 7562 C (gold) with our silver BOPP material. The contrast between the orange and gold colors gives the label a worn, aged look that is not only visually pleasing, but also perfectly represents the barrel-aged beer inside.

“The creativity of the design showcased a great use of the digital process. The metallic print along with the perfect registration from the digital press made for a dynamic label.” - Susan Ramos

Hella Cocktail Co. Founder’s Collection Apple Blossom

Hella Cocktail Co.'s line of super premium cocktail bitters stand apart from the competition and also complement their core portfolio of craft cocktail ingredients. For the Hella Bitters Founder's Collection Apple Blossom piece, we were able to create an alluring label that has since earned placement in the nation-wide demo kit of the HP Indigo Business Development & Brand Management team. The classy overall appearance, matte finish and use of metallic detail on the buildings in the lower-right corner are the most notable points of the label.

“This was for a custom private label project. The metallic imprint combined with the matte lamination, make this product really stand out on the shelf.” - Susan Ramos

Fort Nonsense Brewing Great Falls IPA

Fort Nonsense Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in Denville, NJ, offering a variety of ales and lagers. This label was created for Fort Nonsense's Great Falls IPA, a West Coast style, brewed and dry-hopped with Cascade and Amarillo hops. This is Fort Nonsense's lone canned beer; due to the complexity of many of the colors used on the label, ensuring proper press calibration to hit color targets was critical.

“The creativity of the design on the artwork was perfect for our HP Indigo presses. The label is an excellent alternative to a shrink sleeve and the colors really stand out well.” - Susan Ramos

Olive Packaging Specially Selected Garlic Stuffed Olives

The label employs 4-color process plus two spot colors (Pantone 258 C and Pantone Black 6 C), as well as two UV varnishes: matte textured UV scuff-resistant and a gloss UV. The P5 press enabled us to achieve these textures, which can present a challenge when being printed flexographically.

"Our ability to print two different varnishes enabled us to print this label, which conforms to the brand standards that Olive Packaging requires for their nationally-known grocery customer." - Mark Dally

The Rise of Cannabis-Infused Beer Against Adversity

The-Rise-of-Cannabis-Infused Beer-Against-Adversity.jpg

As governments slowly lift marijuana restrictions, cannabis innovators look for new ways to normalize the plant. The introduction of cannabis-infused beer faced backlash not only from the government, but from the beer industry as well. The first innovators to break ground in the market of cannabis-infused beer have straddled the line between federal and state regulation of cannabis products and alcohol, facing adversity from all angles including the cannabis industry, the beer industry and all levels of government. Ultimately, the cannabis-infused beer crafters are striving to legitimize cannabis to many different parts of society.

Problems with Public Perception

While Americans have gradually become more accepting of cannabis overall in recent years, many are staunchly opposed to the push for recreational cannabis legalization and believe the only legitimacy of cannabis resides in its medicinal applications. Others believe that cannabis is objectively less harmful than alcohol and therefore should not face such stringent legal barriers considering the legal status of alcohol.

Creating New Products in the Face of Stringent Legislation

Cannabis-infused beers present unique challenges to brewers on many fronts. Federal law prohibits the sale of any mixture of alcohol and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so brewers must ensure any cannabis used in the brewing process does not contain THC. Many beverage makers seeking to create THC-infused drinks have turned to nonalcoholic beverages like sparkling water, juice, and tea, while cannabis-infused beer brewers have turned to using different cannabis byproducts in their alcoholic beers.

Some brewers, like Keith Villa, inventor of the wildly popular Blue Moon Pale Ale, have started developing recipes for nonalcoholic beer infused with low doses of THC. Grainwave, the first of its kind from Ceria Beverages, hit store shelves in Colorado in December of 2018. Other notable brewers in years past faced legal trouble for experimenting with cannabis-infused beverages, including Lagunitas, which was raided by the California Alcohol Control Board in 2005 for “disorderly house,” and Dad & Dude’s Breweria, which produced the first commercial CBD-infused beer that led to a 2016 legal battle over the beverage, dubbed General Washington’s Secret Stash in an homage to the hemp-growing first President of the United States.

RELATED ARTICLE: The History of Cannabis-Infused Craft Beer

The Push for Legitimacy is a Long Game

Some of the harshest scrutiny facing brewers of cannabis-infused beer comes from the craft brewing community. While these brewers generally strive to create beers with cannabis byproducts that can stand on their own regardless of CBD or THC content, many other craft brewers see the push for cannabis additives in beer as nothing but a gimmick. For example, the Boston Beer Company, the largest craft brewery in the US and makers of the Sam Adams brand, warned in 2016 that THC and CBD-infused beers could devastate the craft beer market and advised consumers not to support those brewers experimenting with cannabis-infused beer. However, a recent survey from the Brewers’ Association reported that craft beer brewers responded overwhelmingly that they planned to experiment with cannabis-infused beer in the near future.

Century Label understands the challenges facing brewers of cannabis-infused beer in the US. Our experience with custom label design can help ensure full compliance at the local, state, and federal level with readable, beautifully designed product labels. Contact us to learn more about Century Label’s services for cannabis-infused beer labeling.