The Future of QR Codes. Will They Soon be a thing of the Past?

Within the past year, the popularity of QR codes have ramped up in recognition as technology increases and they are incorporated into packaging of products. Throughout our blog posts this year we have emphasized the use of QR codes in product promotions such as with General Mills and Budweiser. QR codes are great ways to for consumers to interact with products they love as well as presenting a way to simplify the lives of those who want to interact with their favorite brands.

Although many people are aware of QR codes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these things were meant to last as once initially thought. Having been an owner of a smart phone for quite some time, I have yet to interact with a product via QR codes. This lack of interaction piggy-backs on the findings of a recent study by comScore, which states that only 14 million American mobile device users have actually interacted with a QR code. In essence, less than 5% of the American public has scanned a QR code.

There can be many reasons that American’s having fully utilized QR codes to their full potential though. Inadequate technology, lack of education, and a perceived lack of value from QR codes are just some of the reasons mobile barcodes are not clicking with Americans.

One finding suggests that as humans, we are very apt to be drawn in by visuals, as is the case with packaging. It may be hard for QR codes to get any sort of reaction or emotion out of us. Perhaps in the future there will an a more visually appealing alternative to the QR code that will spark more interest and positive responses to the consumers.

So, if QR codes aren’t meant to last, what will take its place? It sounds like a new technological development is starting to show up and it is called mobile visual search (MVS). With MVS, all you need to do is simply point at a product or a logo with your smartphone’s built-in camera and shoot a picture. Within a few seconds of snapping the picture, the MVS will provide company and product information, or it may even presne the option to make a purchase of the product using your mobile device. MVS is already being used around the world and is starting see MVS pop up. For example, companies in Argentina and South Korea currently allow commuters waiting for subways or buses to view images of groceries or office supplies.

Check out the following link: 10 Funniest QR Code Fails

Source: Mashable

Retro Cereal Boxes Make a Comeback at General Mills

The Dieline recently posted that cereal giant General Mills is going retro by releasing the 80’s versions of their cereal packaging! The 80’s style packaging is set to run February 7th – mid March, while supplies last. The “retro” theme by General Mills is also partnering with popular iconic retro brand, Atari! We’ve had a few posts about how nostalgic effects on packaging can be a huge hit, so we’re sure that General Mills will have no problem selling these retro cereal boxes!

“It’s time to bust out those sweat bands, leg warmers, and neon accessories, and head to your local Target, as Big G cereals are bringing back their “Retro” themed packaging for the fifth time, 80’s style. Starting February 7 through mid-March, while supplies last, these limited-edition Big G cereal boxes are sure to turn heads down Target’s cereal aisle with their totally radical retro look.

“Partnering with Atari made the opportunity even more exciting as they celebrate their 40th Anniversary milestone. It doesn’t get more iconic than retro Atari games!”

“With the comeback of classic movies, late night TV shows, and neon colors on the runway, this year’s decision to highlight the 80’s was simple – it’s on trend,” said Tara Johnson, integrated marketing communications manager at General Mills. “Partnering with Atari made the opportunity even more exciting as they celebrate their 40th Anniversary milestone. It doesn’t get more iconic than retro Atari games!”

Consumers are drawn to nostalgia, and that’s exactly what Big G is bringing to the table this year with graphics from Atari classics like Asteroids, Centipede, and Missile Command featured on the back of each participating cereal. Navigate your way through breakfast with Big G cereals and the Asteroids maze, finding the clone and testing your knowledge with Atari trivia. Once packages hit Target stores, consumers can also check out to further test their skills at Centipede and to enter in a sweepstakes for a chance to win Target Gift Cards and Atari merchandise.”

Check out ’80s-themed General Mills Packaging’ to see The DieLine’s complete post and more retro cereal packaging photos!

Source: The Dieline

Cereal Giant General Mills Plans for Drastic Change in Cereal Packaging

It’s been a habit since we were kids, but it looks as though simply reading cereal boxes as we are eating breakfast is soon to be a thing of the past.

Mark Addicks of General Mills says that on average, a person reads the text on his/her box 12 times. This may be people who are looking at the nutritional information or counting calories, looking at the pictures or filling in the maze, or those who are looking to just passing the time as they eat.

People love their cereal boxes, and now, General Mills is working on ways to extend the experience by creating ways for us to use our cell phones while we eat. Through the use of QR codes, apps, and augmented reality among other things, General Mills wants to enhance your breakfast routine via smartphones.

“There’s never been a time like this,” says Addicks, a 23-year veteran of the company. “Because of the digital technology that resides in people’s hands … we can now deliver content that engages and enhances the experience. Before, we had to rely on a 30-second TV ad.”

Addick’s has big plans for the cereal giant and wants to basically reinvent food packaging by using digital technology and making it more interactive. Without revealing much, Addick’s says that he is working on concepts that he hopes will be out by the summer.

The main form of smartphone interaction Addick’s is hoping for is through QR codes. “You point to a logo and things start to appear,” he says. “Maybe some functional content will pop up on a cake-mix box, or you might see entertainment and games coming from a cereal box. What I’m hoping for is pure entertainment.”

Although General Mills competitor, Kellogg, already uses QR codes on their recent boxes of Special K and Krave cereals as well as an augmented-reality promotion on the back of their Corn Pops, General Mills isn’t discouraged.

General Mills isn’t completely new to creating smartphone apps for its products and has already started to experiment with a smartphone app on its Yoplait Greek yogurts. The app invited consumers to find Greek items on the backs of their packaging and in turn, General Mills made donations to food shelters. The company has also already tested augmented reality on a box of Honey Nut Cheerios.

So, with a smartphone in hand, be sure to keep an eye on General Mills cereal in the months to come.

General Mills To Use Cheerios For Alternative Energy

General Mills, the MN-based food giant, is doing more with their oats than making Cheerios. This Spring, they began construction on a biomass steam boiler at the company’s milling plant in Fridley, MN where it produces oat flour for Cheerios, Lucky Charms, and other cereals. The boiler will be ready next year to burn oat hulls left over from the milling process and convert them into energy, reducing the mill’s carbon footprint by 21%.

The hulls release the same carbon they absorbed from the atmosphere as plants, making the process essentially carbon neutral. General Mills produces 90,000 tons of oat hulls per year from its two mills in Fridley, MN and northeast Minneapolis. It will use about 10% of that to power its Fridley plant. General Mills also sells its oat hulls to the Koda Energy plant in Shakopee, MN. The plant is 100% biomass-powered and produces malt for brewing.

This project is just one example of how food manufacturers are getting creative and discovering new value is the very old energy technology of biomass. The Fridley oat hull burner is General Mills’ first endeavor into using a food waste product as an energy substitute. Companies can save 20-30% on their fuel costs by switching from purchased fuel to waste fuel.

The decision was not as easy as it sounds however. Converting from a gas to a solid-fuel burner that can burn oat hulls is complex and not necessarily cost effective. Natural gas is cheaper than oat hulls today but the prices for natural gas are expected to be greater than oat hulls by the end of 2012 and beyond.

More info:
General Mills Sustainability