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Winemaker sees success with augmented reality

19 Crimes was named Wine Brand of the Year by Market Watch

Labels historically have been the vehicle for brands to communicate directly with consumers at the point of purchase. An Australia-based wine brand is learning that with augmented reality, the company has a new way of engaging with buyers.

Treasury Wine Estates has launched an augmented reality strategy across five wines in its portfolio. The company began playing with augmented reality on its 19 Crimes wine brand, and quickly realized AR’s boundless potential. The labels for 19 Crimes feature different British prisoners who, according to the story line, were banished to Australia for committing one of the 19 crimes. The story in itself was attractive to consumers, but Treasury Winery Estates took it a step further. 

The winemaker developed a smartphone app, Living Wine Labels, which allows users to watch the labels come alive. Consumers download the app and point the camera at the label, and one of the criminals appears on the phone screen and tells the story of their crimes. 

‘Brands are asking: “how can I scream at the audience and elevate myself above that sea of sameness?” says Andrew Floor, VP of brand and digital marketing at Treasury Wine Estates. ‘Consumers are hungry for stories. The reason 19 Crimes has been so successful is because as a brand it’s built on authentic, genuine and interesting stories. ‘One of the things we discovered through augmented reality is that it allows us to be a partner and guide to our shoppers. I think AR for some people is a gimmick. For us it’s so much more than that.’ 

Benefits realized
With 19 Crimes, Treasury Wine Estates was quick to learn the benefits of an augmented reality strategy. The winemaker was able to improve communication and deepen consumer engagement. Globally, brands are also realizing the potential of augmented reality, as the overall market is expected to reach $117.4bn USD by 2022, according to Forbes. Marketers who adopt augmented reality as part of an omni-channel packaging campaign are also seeing the perks: they’re able to better facilitate personalization, they’re able to create an emotional and interactive connection with customers, and they’re able to get a clearer picture of who’s buying their product and where. 

For 19 Crimes wine, the buzzworthy labels are creating a league of brand evangelists. The Living Wine Labels app has been downloaded more than a million times and has a 4.2-star rating on iTunes. The wine is also getting attention in other areas. Market Watch named 19 Crimes the 2017 Wine Brand of the Year. 

19 Crimes is one of the fastest-growing brands in Treasury Wine Estates’ portfolio. The company has shipped more than one million cases and grew 60 percent in volume sales and 70 percent in value. 

‘19 Crimes is a brand that has been absolutely on fire,’ Floor says. ‘There is no doubt augmented reality played a key role in fueling that growth. The reaction from consumers have been nothing less than astounding.’ 

Treasury Winery Estates has since expanded to other wine labels in its portfolio and is working to enhance the AR experience on established brands. Augmented reality can be found on TWE’s The Walking Dead, Beringer Bros, Chateau St Jean and Gentleman’s Collection wines.


Chelsea McDougall is North America editor for Labels & Labeling.

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