19 Crimes' mobile AR app lets shoppers learn about the infamous criminals featured on the label's wines. Image via 19 Crimes.

History Comes Alive on Wine Bottle Labels

Walk down any wine aisle at your local supermarket, cellar, or package store and you’re bound to see a plethora of interesting and eye-catching label designs. Equal parts art and marketing, wine labels are small masterpieces of creative design in their own right, integrating powerful and concise elements of typography, color and other aesthetic traits to differentiate a particular bottle from its dozens of lookalikes and perhaps convey something of the spirit of the wine through art. An Australian vinter’s 19 Crimes, however, are counting on a new trick to convey to shoppers the spirit and history of their wines: augmented reality.

Named after 19 notorious crimes whose sentence was once death or banishment to Australia, the wine’s labels feature the authentic visages of convicts of yore damned to serve sentences in Britain’s penal colony down under. Last year the company introduced AR to its wine labels, allowing for Android and iOS users to experience an immersive AR experience just by pointing their phones’ camera at a 19 Crimes label. Using 19 Crimes’ mobile app, the mugshots on the wine’s labels animate in photorealistic virtual space, seemingly coming alive in a Harry Potter-esque moving picture (see one user’s demo of the feature below).

Developed by eminent AR/VR studio Tactic (which developed a similar AR campaign for Jose Cuervo), 19 Crimes’s app has been a well-received hit for the companies, leading one commentator on Forbes to declare that “what Pokemon Go did for kids understanding of AR, Australian wine brand 19 Crimes’ new app does for adults,” suggesting that 19 Crimes has succeed in “adult targeted augmented reality” by breaking AR into the adult mainstream and away from the technology’s heretofore dismissed status as a buggy, kitschy novelty made famous by youth-targeted mobile gaming.

Citing a quote by a 19 Crimes executive, the Forbes article continues to suggest that the company’s tech-savvy move into AR might even be directly responsible for the brand’s impressive growth in 2017:

“Augmented Reality is an exciting technology, giving us the unique opportunity to let these historic criminals-turned-colonists tell their own stories in a way that resonates with today’s consumer,”  19 Crimes Director Samantha Collins, told Cheers Online. No doubt this has helped their numbers grow; as of 2017 they’ve shipped over one million cases and the brands grew 60% in volume sales and 70% in value, according to Better Retailing. This is a great example of how a brand can harness new technology for an experience that creates a positive buzz — and a perfect showcase for how adult AR might look in everyday life.

To download 19 Crimes’ AR app as well as learn more about the brand’s eponymous criminal offenses and the stories of some of the men and women featured on the company’s wine labels, visit 19Crimes.com.