No one would dispute that whiskey (and alcohol brands in general) have to go the extra mile regarding creativity and presentation regarding advertising and branding. A big reason for this is that many countries have banned direct advertising of alcohol. Considering the restricted freedom they get to advertise, their hands are tied much tighter than normal brands, giving them significantly less to choose from and a smaller playing field.
With the restrictions for alcohol brands, Augmented Reality packaging is a great option for advertising and branding. The ‘advertisement space’ provided by Augmented Reality is free of all restrictions, allowing brands to present their engagement activities or showcase information how they see fit. This ad space has become valuable for brands not only to advertise but also to create memorable experiences that their users keep returning for.
Over the years, several brands have chosen AR packaging to fulfil their product campaign objectives. I have selected a few of them and will list them below as case studies. This will give you an idea of how Augmented Reality advertising has been reshaping branding and advertising worldwide.
Jack Daniel’s went all in and bet big on AR. They even created a separate app for their AR experiences. They usually augment their iconic-shaped bottle and create multiple experiences around it.
For one of their experiences, they had an interesting AR experience titled ‘Stories of Jack’ where they delved into the stories of the man himself. In another one, they showcased how they craft their whiskey with a diorama-styled animation AR experience.
Choosing to go forward with an app was a great choice for JD, in my opinion, because WebAR still needs to improve technologically to create surreal AR experiences on the mobile app.
While not as premier as the Jack Daniel’s Experience, the Glenlivet AR experience is a great example of simplicity in the ideation and execution of the project. The experience was set up via Shazam, and once the experience was triggered, a stage popped up where their master distiller encouraged the user to engage in the tasting experience.
The user is told to pour a glass and take a sip, and alongside, the AR experience unlocks a game where they have to guess/decode the aromas and flavours of the drink. The challenge has been gamified, encouraging users to try again if they don’t correct the deconstruction.
Macallan’s experience was a two-fold one where one was an exhibition that you could experience with the Microsoft Holo Lens. For those that couldn’t, there was an AR experience for iOS users.
To view the Macallan experience at home, the user would need either the Double Cask 12 or the Sherry Cask 12. Once the user launched the app, he would need to align and position the bottle based on the silhouette present on the screen. This experience was an educational trip taking your along the production and consumption of the spirit. A narrator guided you through each section of the experience and AR animations corresponding to the topic populated the screen.
While not as flashy as the others, Macallan’s experience is a good example of providing an intriguing experience to its fans and whisky enthusiasts.
The AR campaigns mentioned above have all had their varying degrees of success. The Jack Daniel’s AR experience app roped in 30,000+ users who watched over 110,000 ‘Jack Stories’ AR experiences with an average of 5:42 minutes of total session time per user. The experience attracted international news coverage and also a very positive user response.
Apart from the brands mentioned above, other whiskey brands like Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal and more have used AR for their marketing and branding campaigns. Their individual and collective success stories are great testimonies as to why more whisky brands and also, other brands in general, should use augmented reality for their campaigns.