Talking jars: Francesco Rinaldi launches first AR technology in pasta sauce category
13 Dec 2018 --- Francesco Rinaldi has become the first pasta sauce brand to incorporate Augmented Reality (AR) technology into its packaging. In a move anticipated to enhance brand loyalty and increase sales, consumers can scan Rinaldi jar labels with a smartphone and watch the brand’s icon, Mrs. Rinaldi, deliver “an entertaining and engaging product message” via a downloadable app.
“The main reason for integrating AR technology was to disrupt the pasta sauce category in a big way,” Mary DeMarco, Creative & Branding Director of LiDestri Food & Drink, producers of Francesco Rinaldi pasta sauces, tells PackagingInsights. “The pasta sauce aisle is a sea of red, more or less a commodity product. I wanted to ‘shake it up’ by actually having the brand icon come alive on the jars through AR.”
Tradition married with technology
Despite this recent nod to technology, Francesco Rinaldi reaffirms that “traditions are the heart and soul of the brand.” Its pasta sauce originated from a family recipe that was handed down for many generations and its unique spice blend has remained unchanged for nearly four decades.
“The iconic Mrs. Rinaldi has graced the Francesco Rinaldi label for nearly 40 years and now at long last she speaks,” DeMarco says. “Through AR, we are celebrating by looking forward and focusing on technology, all the while staying true to our traditional pasta sauce recipes and Italian culture.”
According to DeMarco, this technology was made-to-order for Francesco Rinaldi thanks to the iconic label featuring Mrs. Rinaldi. “She has always been an easily-identifiable and strong symbol for the brand. And now, thanks to this new app, we can hear and see her come alive,” she says.
Mrs. Rinaldi, speaking in her Italian accent, is featured in three separate messages, including the brand’s “creamy” Alfredo sauces; its new line of organic pasta sauces; and the brand’s sustainable packaging called the Living Jar. Visual promotions will be in some US stores in December where Francesco Rinaldi brands are sold.
“The app enables us to reach a new generation of pasta sauce lovers by being innovative and disrupting tradition a little. And yet by featuring Mrs. Rinaldi, who shows a whole lot of personality, the brand is embracing its heritage of hard work, integrity and culture,” says DeMarco.
Understanding the consumer
Connective packaging technologies such as AR can enhance brand appeal, but they can also enable brands to collect valuable data about consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. From this data, sales and marketing strategies can be optimized.
“Through this new AR technology, we are able to accumulate data on the number of downloads, number of engagements and extended engagements,” says DeMarco. “We can even geo-target where the app is being used.”
“The app is young – not even two months – so data is premature at this stage. Hopefully, though, we can see a lift in sales that correlates to app usage,” she adds.
The integrated AR technology is available on Francesco Rinaldi’s sustainable Living Jar. The Living Jar is a substitute for glass packaging, which is lightweight, BPA-free, shatterproof and has a significantly smaller eco-footprint than its glass counterpart.
The Francesco Rinaldi brand also highlights that lightweighted jars result in less fuel usage. The jar has numerous benefits when it comes to the environment, such as lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to the glass alternative, the company says.
Click to EnlargeFurthermore, the jar is shatterproof, eliminating the safety risk of glass breakage in stores in addition to homes. The plastic jar is also more manufacturing friendly for employees as it lowers noise level in the manufacturing operation. Lighter weight can also be an ergonomic benefit to employees stocking store shelves.
Francesco Rinaldi was able to develop its integrated AR technology by working with US vendor, Twisted Rope, who created the designated app. AR technology is new to the pasta sauce aisle, but not to products such as 19 Crimes wine, which has reported significant success with AR enhancements.
The brand’s Living Jar and Francesco Rinaldi AR app are examples of grocery shopping becoming a more “thoughtful and engaging experience,” De Marco concludes. “If you can bring the label on a jar of sauce to life with your smartphone, who knows what’s next?”
Connected packaging and the Internet of Things has opened up a world of possibilities for brands to communicate with their customers in more engaging and proactive ways. Brand owners are beginning to realize the massive potential of pioneering technologies such as Near-Field communication (NFC), QR codes, barcode scan and AR in increasing brand loyalty and awareness and better understanding consumer behavior.
By Joshua Poole
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