Love is in the air today, or so they say. It’s in stores, at least- everywhere I go I see balloons and candy and stuffed animals galore. The clerk at Walgreens even complained to me yesterday that she was utterly sick of scanning cards at the register. Probably one of the most iconic Valentine’s Day goodies is chocolate- and according to the American Confectioners Association, Americans will spend over $700 MILLION dollars on chocolate for this special day. That’s a lot of chocolate, eh? Quite a boost for the average chocolate company’s coffers.
But a chocolate company in Greece doesn’t save the love connection for Valentine’s Day- chocolate brand Lacta promotes the tie between emotions and its products all the year around. Apparently it’s been a tradition for a while for consumers to scrawl little love notes on Lacta’s paper wrappers and then pass the treats on to a special someone. The trend became an integral part of the brand’s identity, as well as part of its formal advertising. Then, the company changed its packaging from paper to plastic: tragedy! Changing something so integral to its identity could have been a risky move. So what did Lacta do? It created an awesome, impressive app using augmented reality (AR) to keep the choco-love routine alive. Now, consumers can use an app connected to their Facebook accounts to send friends/lovers/dream crushes sweet and sappy messages via AR. They simply type out the message they want, alert the friend, the friend uses the Lacta app to wave over the package and decode the message. A demo is here– definitely check it out, especially if you aren’t familiar with how cool AR is.
I love how Lacta adapted its traditional brand image to modern needs and achieved a win-win-win: better packaging, translating tradition into the modern age, showing it is on the cutting edge of technology and advertising. I’m sure some will say it hurts the old time goodness of the brand or makes it hard for non tech literate people to participate, and that may be true, but overall I think this is a great example of how a self-aware company that knows better than to destroy a Very Good Thing: consumers using its product for something other than its intended purpose. With Lacta, chocolate becomes a communication tool. Amazing!
On a side note, in further honor of this day’o’love, check out this adorable website from graphic design company Little & Company. I dare you not to smile.