April 6, 2018 – Treasury Wine Estates, owners of iconic brands such as Acacia, Beaulieu Vineyard (BV), Beringer Vineyards and Penfolds is at the forefront of disruptive marketing using a smartphone augmented reality app to reach consumers via the wine bottle label.
In the sometimes staid world of wine, where terminology is often precious and confusing to the majority of wine buyers, “disruptive marketing” and “augmented reality” do not immediately come to mind. Besides being mind-boggling innovations they are also fun, so we applaud Treasury Wine Estates for their very clever outreach to consumers.
It all got started with one of their Australian brands called 19 Crimes. The labels feature “mug shots” of various Australian convicts and by holding a smartphone in front of the label, the convict’s story comes alive. That Australia was founded by convicts is true and well known. But a bit of history of how that came about is helpful here.
Captain James Cook discovered Australia in 1770 but it wasn’t until 1788 that the British decided to set up as a penal colony in what is now Sydney. British prisons were overflowing with criminals because since 1775, they could no longer be shipped to the American colonies. Between 1718 and 1775 about 52.000 British convicts had been transported to America, most arriving in Virginia and Maryland. A rarely recognized consequence of the America Revolution was the settlement of Australia! Between 1788 and 1868, 164,000 sad souls made the harrowing journey to Australia. There were 19 crimes that led to a sentence of Transportation, as it was known, hence the label of the wine from a country “founded by convicts” is a kind of homage to the endurance of these men and women.
The Augmented Reality label on 19 Crimes was a huge success with consumers, and Treasury Estates realized they were on to something. This technology could be applied to other brands in all categories across their portfolio. The program was dubbed Living Labels. In a recent article by Michael S. Lasky for WineBusiness.com, Andrew Floor, the company’s VP of Brand and Digital Marketing explained, “The Living Labels concept was the ultimate answer to the question ‘How do we start to tell our brand’s story in a way that’s really easy for them?’ And ideally, at the point of purchase, because that’s where 80% of the purchases decisions are made.”
Connecting with the consumer is an on-going challenge for all wineries. While the original intent was to reach out to millennials, you don’t have to be a millennial to enjoy watching a wine label come alive. The Living Label app that makes all this fun happen can be downloaded at the Google Play store and the Apple App Store and so far 1.2 million users have participated. The marketing insight this provides the brands, and retailers, is invaluable. It allows Treasury to track not only downloads of the app but the number of times used and for which label. The Living Label videos are available on YouTube. 19 Crimes was the first. Other brands with Living Labels include Walking Dead, Chateau St. Jean and Beringer Brothers Bourbon Barrel.