Augmented Reality hits the shelves

“How to make your product stand out from the crowd”.

Augmented reality pops up in some very unusual places nowadays.

You probably didn’t expect to see it on a wine bottle, for a start. But the age of the talking wine bottle is upon us, as the video below shows.

As an example of how mobile phone technology can help your product sales, here's some "living wine labels". Companies such as 19Crimes, Walking Dead Wines, Beringer Brothers, Chateau St Jean, Lindemans and many more are using Augmented Reality to add stories to their bottles and make them stand out in a highly competitive market.

The wine market in the US alone is worth $62 billion. It’s estimated that the main driver for “millenials and Generation Z-er’s” is not the actual taste of the wine or the reviews it gets, but the label design.

The 19 Crimes app was produced by an Australian wine maker to illustrate stories behind the “nineteen crimes” which, if committed, could lead to transportation to Australia. It’s a tenuous link to a bottle of Australian red wine, but the app is so well done that, 500,000 downloads later, it’s an example of how AR and creative thought can make a product really stand out from the competition.

The idea has started to be copied by other companies such as Beringer Brothers and Lindemans. If advertising is there to differentiate a product and tell a story, then AR is proving to be a very powerful tool. As half a million app downloads possibly illustrates.

Of course, this phenomenon isn’t just restricted to wine, but let’s stay on drinks for a moment.


Probably one of the best uses of AR to enhance a product is the Jack Daniels AR app. Pointing a phone at the bottle reveals a beautifully illustrated animation, with fold down graphics illustrating the story of Jack Daniels whiskey.

The customer gets sold not just a product, but an experience. It’s been used for in store Easter egg hunts - “find five examples of a product in a supermarket, win £500.“

There is really no creative limit as to what can be done with AR, from curry sauces which play authentic Indian music to you to bourbon bottles which fold out into an entire Tenessee distillery.


One question that’s being asked is “will the public get tired of AR product labels?“ It doesn’t seem to be the case at the moment, as though they seem to be the next big thing, there are comparatively few AR labels around at the moment. The general (shopping) public like being surprised by technology in unexpected places, and there are few enough AR product apps around at the moment to make the brands who do adopt them stand out. You might regard it as a gimmick - but it’s a gimmick that demonstrably works.

Perhaps the question is “is this a flash in the pan or the new standard?” At the moment, it’s difficult to tell, but with old “fuddy duddy” wine producers such as Chateau Lafitte Carcasset experimenting with AR labels to appeal to a new, younger audience, AR labels are definitely something to watch.


Well, you can spend your marketing budget on advertising and not even scratch the market, or you can spend some of it on an augmented reality label which, if well done, will get customers talking amongst themselves and putting videos of it on YouTube. The 19 Crimes app has probably paid for itself many, many times over and elevated a brand way beyond the status of a supermarket Australian Cabernet Sauvignon.


AR apps are relatively simple to do. Artwork, in the form of pictures, music or audio, is mapped to target images using game design engines such as Unity or Unreal Engine. A plugin (Vuforia) allows the phone camera to “recognise” real world objects (such as a wine bottle label) and then replace them with animations, sound clips or 3D models - or a combination of all three.

The game engine allows you to then export the resulting AR files to incorporate into an app. We use Google Flutter to develop apps, as it’s the fastest and most cost effective way of producing a “cross platform” app which works on both Android and iOS phones.

The result is merely limited by your imagination. Check out our Manchester based Flutter app development services here.

This is just one example of how apps can get your product recognised. Want to know more? Come and have a chat with us over at!

Dave's IT background goes back "to the beginning of time" and has worked with some leading technologies and brands during his professional career

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