Food Marketers for CPGs Seeking the Secret Weapon – News from the Food Aisle

Part of our job (the fun part) as food marketers is to keep up with digital and mobile innovations.   Some clever solutions are in beta with major brands, and if they can train consumers to use them, they’ll do magic: enhance the shopping experience and help brands make noise at point of purchase.

Overcoming Point Of Purchase Block

Point of purchase used to send us scrambling for our printer’s phone number, ordering coupon pads on easel-backed posters, floor stickers and other attention-getting geegaws aimed at grabbing that fleeting consumer attention and dragging her cart over our way.

Ah, the good old days,  Now  major chains like Kroger strictly control the look of their stores, and your flashy promo isn’t getting anywhere near the floor.  They don’t want your sweepstakes signage, shelf talkers, or freestanding display junking up their shopper environment.  Right or wrong, it’s the way they want it.

So are POP marketers defeated? Never.  We’re stepping into the ring with Image Recognition (IR) technology  that let you identify objects, brand logos, products, and more, from plain images.

Google is investing heavily in the image recognition capability of Google +, which now works on many Androids photos and uploads images online. Yahoo recently continued its shopping spree buying image-recognition startup LookFlow.

Make Package Magic work for Food Marketers

Why should you be excited?  With IR you can turn your package into the portal for a whole range of offers.

IR takes your ordinary, unblemished product (i.e. no more QR tags!) and links it to practically any kind of information.  A quick can of your package can trigger an augmented reality offer, can link to a website or coupon, or start a video demo of a recipe.

Wheaties Cereal used IR that brings users from a shot of the package to an animation of Adrian Peterson that then allows you to “take a picture with Adrian”, and share it on Twitter or Facebook.

Adrian Peterson 2012 MVP and Jay Lundeen

Adrian Peterson and Account Manager Jay Lundeen

The Consumer Gap

Of course,  the question remains whether consumers will adopt this behavior in-store, and how it could influence purchase.  Isn’t it a lot to ask a harried mom to stop mid-grocery and take a picture of a box? Depends on the value of the offer and how you communicate it.  At POS, IR can replace the IRC, and engage the consumer in the brand in a much more meaningful way.

But why just think about POS?  Hasn’t Google ZMOT taught us that meaningful brand engagement also happens after purchase?

We’re betting IR will follow the pattern of QR code activation: 57% of QR code activity happens post-purchase, in the home, when consumers have time to pull out a phone, open an app and center the image without little Mikey tugging on their arms.  The possibilities to expand usage and increase use-up rate just got exciting, right?

The options are plentiful. Israel based IOS app Pounce just added a deal finder to their app as a major feature upgrade. Companies like CamFind offer technology that allows any mobile app to integrate IR.

Battling showrooming with store-specific partnerships.

Heinz worked with Blippar, an app that reads the label and pops up a virtual 3D recipe booklet you can flip through and download.

Heinz and Blippar Image Recognition CPG promotion

Here are a couple of shots that show it in action.  I’m aiming at an image of the Heinz bottle (this is from their website, but it works with the actual bottle).   You can see that what comes up on my phone is a pop-up virtual recipe book that I can download, flip through or access video demos on.

SnippCheck  uses a form of IR called Character Recognition to read your store receipt.  For Walmart, they linked football video gaming with snack purchasing: consumers SnippChecked their receipt showing the purchase of Xbox 360 Madden 25 and select snack products – then received an instant Walmart eGift card.

Doritos and Madden promtion

Doesn’t that get your imagination going with shopper marketing options?  Cross- promotional partnerships just got a lot easier and much more fun.