Augmenting Reality


      by Greg Kishbaugh

     We live in a world of massive technological change. The gadgets we take for granted in our everyday lives would, just a generation ago, have been considered science fiction.
     And increasingly CPGs and retailers are turning to technology to increase awareness of their brands, educate consumers about their products and to connect with their customers.
     Augmented Reality (AR) has been around for a number of years, but the depths to which it can be used to educate (and entertain) consumers is still in its infancy.
     McDonald’s has launched a new AR app called McMission that educates McDonald’s in-store customers and mobile users on the company’s commitment to sustainability.

     The company launched it in tandem with its  third Corporate Responsibility Report. The app features interactive mini-games that teach visitors about the societal and environmental initiatives the company and its franchisees are involved. The app can be launched by scanning the packaging on a number of the company’s products.
     “With McMission we want to bring our guests closer though playful central aspects of sustainability,” said Philipp Wachholz, Director of Corporate Affairs at McDonald’s Germany. “We have chosen Augmented Reality as a technology because it brings together the real restaurant experience with fascinating virtual animation.”
     The app consists of missions that teach users about renewable energy, recycling, the origins of packaging and waste disposal.
Naturally, through the integration of social media, guests can share game achievements via Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.
     As consumers (particularly young consumers) rely more and more heavily on technology, progressive companies will be well served to pay close attention to the ways in which to turn an increasingly digital world to their favor.

Flexo Opportunities


Leo Nadolske

What challenges/opportunities do you feel flexo printers should be focusing on above all others right now?
     Well, projections show a steady increase in flexo for the next few years. So, the challenges need to become opportunities—and the key is providing quality. For instance: new barrier films now available for flexible packaging allow for much more vibrant graphics and address safety concerns—especially in food packaging. Showcasing these capabilities creates great opportunity—especially as consumers continue to demand source reduction in the packaged goods they buy. Flexo converters/package printers can supply a product that is not only eco-friendly, but eliminates contamination issues and could afford their CPG customers with cost reductions.

What significant trends will have the most effect on flexo printers’ businesses in the near future? Are there trends on the horizon that printers should be attuned to?
     If I had to choose one, it would have to be digital flexo printing. For sure this process is a key to growth for flexo converters. It’s no longer in R&D. In fact, one of our sessions in the educational program focuses on digital printing in the converting/packaging arena. CPP’s co-location with Print will provide flexo printers with a birds-eye view of the digital innovations on the horizon.

Are there areas in which flexo is better poised than any other printing methods at the moment to make competitive inroads? If so, what should printers be doing to take advantage of those areas?
     I’d have to say flexo is poised to be a leading process in the food packaging arena. As mentioned earlier, as brands and major retailers listen to their shoppers’ demand for eco-friendly packaging, as well as portion control packaging, we will continue to see bags, pouches, stand-up pouches, as well as “ease-of-use” packaging for individual servings grow exponentially. And, without a doubt, all indicators denote that the preferred printing process for these types of items will be flexo. To take advantage of the growth opportunity, getting educated on the materials that are best-suited and promoting its cost-effectiveness compared to current packaging will secure the greatest results.

What specific opportunities does CPP feel flexo printers will gain from attending the show this year in Chicago?
     Specifically? Innovation! There will be no greater opportunity to see the future than at CPP EXPO co-located with Print in September. The innovations in pre-press and digital that will transfer into package printing will provide an edge to the converters looking to innovate. And, conversely, commercial printers who are immersed in digital are looking to expand into package printing. The opportunities abound for all in attendance!
     So, at the end of the day, CPP EXPO will address the issues keeping your readers up at night now, but will also provide a road map for the future. We look forward to seeing them all in Chicago!