Turning ordinary product moments into extraordinary product experiences

Jake Moore, Connected Programme Specialist

Transforming the often-overlooked marketing real estate you already own

There are 7 trillion consumer packaged goods (CPGs) in circulation around the world. That means, in one single day there are literally billions of product use moments that could be put to good use. And yet aren’t.

Marketing is a multi-billion dollar global industry. In 2022, in the UK alone, more than 35 billion pounds was spent on advertising, and yet there’s one, highly targeted, easily measured, cost-efficient and easily adapted marketing opportunity that is often overlooked. Connected Packaging. 

Your packaging provides a cost-efficient opportunity to digitise potentially billions of physical assets you already control and own. Assets that deliver your message to your perfect target market- a market that you know will buy your product, at a time when the need for that product is front of mind. It allows you to connect with customers and harvest robust and reliable first-person data. 

What is Connected Packaging? 

Connected Packaging is a pack that connects consumers to a digital experience. It’s an opportunity to communicate with consumers at the point of use - a valuable data-capture opportunity for both behavioural and first-party data generation and an opportunity to create more valuable and memorable experiences that can help your brand grow. 

Given the ubiquitous nature of QR codes around the world, the key question for brands is how to stand out from competitors and provide a point of differentiation in a busy market. Brands need to offer a genuine value exchange that is useful and solves a consumer’s pain points.

Delivering memorability

Done correctly, connectivity in our packs can make a brand, a brand. A brand partner that is memorable and valuable to us at the times when we need it. To us, the convergence of GS1 (the custodians of the Barcode) supporting an ambition for QR codes to be read at retail points around the World by 2027 and the acceleration of Artificial Intelligence provides a world of opportunity. We see these 2 factors the catalyst for turning ordinary moments with products into extraordinary moments that people remember for the years ahead.

The Packaging Multi-Verse

The drive from GS1 barcodes to QR allows a larger amount of data to be stored on pack for multiple use cases from a single code. In-store scanners can operate to manage stock in the same vein as the barcode, enterprise apps can operate to track counterfeit or sabotage in the supply chain, and the smart phone camera can elevate consumer demanded experiences.

If pack connectivity is a priority (which we believe for modern brands it should be) then the impact for pack design will be colossal and is already in action. A single code that can deliver multiple data and information can make us refine what is on the pack, how the pack is viewed, and what it is made of. Imagine that you no longer need to add the full ingredient list in multiple languages on the artwork and other legislative information can be stored digitally and be served dynamically in accordance to market and location? Does that reduce the amount of real estate you need around the pack, or let you think differently about the material you use? It will certainly help you with pack simplification and premiumisation.


Generative AI is influencing personalisation to operate at scale, affordably, and practically possible for a fast roll out.  This hyper tailoring of image, descriptions, offerings, and content turns a pack into a PA. Or, as we see it, ‘product as a service.’

Our pack interactions can provide text to audio, text, image & video recognition responses back to our mobile device. The operation can work in a way that fits to how and when we want the personalised information.

The capability is in action and while some brands are cautious on the legal connotations, the learnings are only going to get sharper and more useful. People are already getting recipe advice & support from Chat GPT, and Samsung are taking the connection across device from your kitchen appliances to assist with inspiration and creating shopping lists, through to your dinner plate.

Whilst we are seeing new possibilities increasingly being piloted all the time our clients all ask one question ‘How do we start building a programme that can scale over time, increase the business it generates and the brand value it delivers?’

How to scale your Pilots

1. Make your activities measurable. 

Meaningful metrics need to be set up that reflect internal, operational KPIs and external consumer performance measurements.

We have benchmarked standards we use to ensure the scale and pace are realistically and smoothly implemented, with an agile approach that progresses through three phases: test and learn, start to scale, and scale and optimise. The programme’s speed of growth is determined by the speed at which the learnings and insights are actioned during each phase.

Our measurement framework also helps ensure we attribute business and brand value throughout, taking into account the different types of value that ultimately impact sales growth and that can be tangibly measured.

2. Focus on your top-performing cells and implement Connected Packs for all new product launches. 

Use Cases must be carefully considered to ensure that campaigns are addressing consumer pain points. With Use Case benchmarks across 160 markets and over 8 billion items, we ensure our clients know what good (and importantly, bad) looks like, placing them in a better position to run an agile and successful campaign. 

3. Start planning early. 

Know the pack refreshes coming up and ensure CP is part of the upfront brand planning. Put the code in the most prominent position possible to maximise scans and make sure you’ve thought about Accessible QR.

4. Ensure your code generation and tracking process is robust and, wherever possible, automated.

Without this, you can’t unlock the highly valuable performance reporting information you need to extract the most data possible in a quickly and efficiently manner.

5. Plan your landing page experience. 

On identification of the most appropriate Use Case, make sure the digital landing page experience is thoroughly planned so you can track engagement with your content and measure it against other channels for value comparison. Our industry, category, use case and content benchmarks for Connected Pack will help you understand what good and bad performance looks like. It’s only when you understand what good performance looks like that you can optimise to achieve it. 

In addition to providing our benchmarks and insights, we also have many examples of successful products-as-a-service use cases and can provide brands with Connected Pack and UX idea inspiration. 

We also offer our clients best practice Golden Rules for Connected Pack experiences. These rules are reviewed and validated every 3 months, based on the largest bank of CP data in the world to ensure they are always up to date and centered on the latest technology and marketing concepts. 


To explore further how you could unlock the full potential of your Packaging contact mark.hewitt@cec-hq.com


Written by Jake Moore, Connected Programme Specialist

Jake's background in marketing, technology & creativity has helped grow leading brands Worldwide. His work within CEC is focused on growing adoption of Connected Packaging programmes and best in class pack activations, utilising CEC best practices and actionable data insights. 


CEC Overview

For more than 4 years, CEC has been helping clients quantify the true potential of their Connected Packaging. From revealing the true business case for Connected Packs to establishing the infrastructure and helping clients scale, CEC’s talent, tech and data insights are helping businesses better understand consumer behaviour when they have the product in their hands. 

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