NFC Gets Cheesy with Kraft Singles

A New Twist on Tamper-Evident Packaging Lets Kraft Heinz Create Better Consumer Experiences, Pre- and Post-Sale
It can be really satisfying when you find a new way to use an existing technology, especially when it helps a customer create a competitive advantage. That’s what happened when we worked with the U.S. based food company Kraft Heinz, and TPG Rewards, on the biggest deployment of NFC-based intelligent packaging to date. Global brands like Kraft Heinz have similar challenges: they typically do not know whom their customers are, and how can the brand create compelling contextual experiences at the retailers’ shelf that will drive a purchase decision?

To solve these challenges for Kraft Heinz, TPG Rewards utilized our tamper-evident NFC tags to engineer the first of its kind, intelligent IRC (Instantly Redeemable Coupon) label and using it as part of a promotional campaign that creates more meaningful connections with Kraft Heinz customers, inside the store before the customers purchase, and after the purchase when the product was opened at home.

Repurposed Supply Chain Feature

For some time now, companies have been using our tamper evident Near Field Communication (NFC) tags in the supply chain to protect the integrity of products by detecting whether a package has been opened prior to sale. There is a small conductive loop inside the NTAG 213 TagTamper that indicates package open/closed status. On startup, the tag checks the loop. A closed loop indicates the package seal is intact, while an open loop indicates that the package’s seal has been broken and the product may have been interfered with. If the tag detects an open loop, it records the status in memory and reports it whenever the tag is read. Originally the NTAG 213 TagTamper was been developed for inspectors and end users to check product integrity before purchase.

It’s a cost-effective, easy-to-use way to ensure that foods, beverages, medications, and other consumer packaged goods remain in their original condition while traveling through the supply chain and are safe to use. But with the Kraft Heinz project, we’ve turned that idea on its head. Instead of the NTAG 213 TagTamper reporting status to inspectors in the supply chain, it’s communicating directly with consumers, before and after the sale.

New Experiences, Pre- and Post-Sale

In Walmart stores across the U.S., premium display locations have specially marked Kraft bunker coolers stocked with Kraft Singles, the familiar blocks of individually wrapped slices of American cheese. Each Kraft Singles package carries a brightly colored label with an NTAG 213 TagTamper inside. The label invites consumers to tap their Android or iPhone smartphone to the package to view recipes while in store and, after purchase, to play the “Find the Golden Single” game for a chance to win a USD 50 Walmart eGift Card. The contextual, interactive web based mobile experience is managed by TPG’s TAP Technology™ cloud platform.

Pre-sale, tapping the label displays contextual recipes on the shopper’s smartphone, inspiring consumers to use Kraft Singles in new ways. Post-sale, access to the mobile browser-based game is triggered by breaking the tamper loop in the NFC tag (or in simple terms a consumer opening the package) and tapping the package, to instantly unlock the Kraft’s “Find the Golden Single” scratch-and-win style mobile game. In an easy to follow process, the consumer swipes their finger across their screen to reveal either a winning tile for the eGift Card or a “try again” option which includes a link to ‘delicious recipes’ using the Kraft Singles product.

Intelligent Packaging – The New Media Channel

The Kraft Heinz project underscores the idea that product packaging represents one of the best ways for brands to create a direct, one-to-one connection with consumers before, during and after the purchase. Intelligent packaging has become the new media channel in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector.

Today’s brand owners and retailers need to compete more effectively in a mobile-first, omni-channel world. Consumer expectations and behaviors are fundamentally shifting, as shoppers of all ages increasingly turn to their mobile devices to consult online reviews, research products, get recommendations, comparison shop, and interact with the products themselves.

Today, nearly every Android and iPhone smartphone can now read an NFC tag providing brand owners and retailers a compelling reason to use NFC to deliver better, contextual customer experiences, not just at the point of purchase, but also after the sale, at the point of use. NFC-enabled experiences foster deeper consumer engagement and loyalty. They also help brand owners and retailers gain insights into consumer preferences (Product usage data is of interest for brand owners – first party data). Create opportunities for personalization and, perhaps most important, forge deeper, longer-lasting relationships with the people who buy their products.

Establishing and Maintaining Engagement

The key to taking advantage of these new, mobile-based opportunities is to first establish and then maintain a strong direct connection with each person throughout the consumer journey, beginning before the purchase and continuing well after the sale.

The thing that makes the Kraft Heinz promotion so exceptional is that it uses NFC to draw people in before they buy – by providing frictionless mobile access to new dynamic, contextual recipes they can view in store on their mobile device (recipe content is dynamic in that it changes by location, day of the week and trending new recipes on social media) – and then keeps them engaged after they make their purchase and leave the store – by using the tamper-evident function of the NFC tag to trigger a new interaction once they’re home and peel open the package. At home an instant win ($50 Walmart gift card) scratch off game is launched on the shopper phone providing a fun gamified mobile experience.

A Secure End-to-End Cloud Solution

The promotional platform was designed by NXP’s partner, TPG Rewards, a leading provider of innovative promotional platforms, such as their TAP Technology that uses NFC to engage with consumers. The TPG Rewards solution is a complete, turn-key offering that let Kraft Heinz move from planning and production to full-scale implementation while working with just one vendor.

Using NXP’s NTAG 213 TagTamper and NTAG Secure Services, TPG Rewards created a tailored experience that transitions from an eye-catching label to an interactive mobile experience that engages consumers while also generating valuable marketing insights. TPG Rewards chose the NTAG 213 TagTamper because it’s an advanced tag IC that, offers a digital signature, and tamper evident feature, that let brand owners protect product authenticity and integrity, while enabling advanced interactions, pre-and post-sale.

The NTAG 213 TagTamper is supported by NTAG Secure Services, which makes it easy to scale, manage, protect, and control product identities in the cloud, giving each product a persistent, addressable web presence and the ability to exchange data in real time. For the Kraft Heinz campaign, TPG Rewards used the NTAG Authenticator & Redirector Service, which is managed by NXP in the cloud. As its name implies, the service verifies tag originality and opening status before redirecting consumers to the applicable web page. The service tracks analytics, including frequency, location, time, system, and browser, and can flag any fraudulent attempts to access the network.

Look Behind the Scenes

Not only is the Kraft Singles project one of the most unique intelligent packaging launches to date, it’s also one of the most comprehensive. Designed from the ground up to be an interactive, engaging campaign, the initiative involves tag ICs, specially designed and produced labels, and a dedicated user interface. We encountered a number of interesting challenges along the way – from how to design the label and position the tag, to creating multi-faceted content and promotional platform that generated a compelling customer experience while also gathering key pieces of marketing information.

We’ve put together a presentation that describes the decisions we made as we moved from planning to deployment – and the lessons we learned. My colleague, Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw, an NFC expert on consumer engagement and a board member of the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA), will deliver that presentation with John Galinos, CEO of TPG Rewards at the AIPIA World Congress in Amsterdam (18/19 Nov 2019).

Tim Daly
Tim Daly
In his role as NFC Evangelist for NXP, Tim Daly works closely with brands, governments, retailers, and media companies to promote the benefits and new use cases for NFC. Together with the NXP Smart Product team, he helps organizations realize their visions for connecting their devices, products, spaces, and people to the IoT.

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