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Bringing back childhood strategies into adult advertising and marketing

As a shopper (or parent) you may have experienced a tantrum being thrown by a child who insists on getting something that they have seen ... or ... you were that child throwing the tantrum. The events of that tantrum may have panned out as follows: the child, decisive in his or her thinking, went into a shop (accompanied by a purchaser) and earnestly wanted "something" which caught their eye and wanted it there and then. They more-than-likely pointed at the object which they instinctively knew they wanted and persisted, with their whole being, to persuade the purchaser to buy the "something" for them, even if it meant "throwing their toys out of the... trolley." The result... the child wins.
Bringing back childhood strategies into adult advertising and marketingThe concept of Point-Know-Buy (PKB) works pretty much the same way: the consumer sees "something" of interest to them, they then "point" at the product or code with their mobile device camera, they gain instant information about the product ("know") and then make a decision to "buy" the product - or not.

There are two main forms of PKB used today for advertising and marketing benefits, namely; Quick Response (QR) codes and Augmented Reality. A QR code is a modified two-dimensional barcode that can store roughly 350 times the amount of information than the average barcode. This enables consumers to gain information at their fingertips enabling them to interact with the real world instantly [7].

After the birth of QR codes and instant virtual information about reality, tech-guru's decided to take reality one step further. Just when you thought it was cool seeing a hologram of a space agent appearing out of nowhere on Star Trek, these tech-gurus brought the very same technology into our hands, the hands of the consumer. This technology is known as Augmented Reality (AR). AR is technology which gives the consumer a real-time augmented, three-dimensional image with the assistance of virtual layers either as a video, image or text. For example, Google Goggles is an AR concept which works when a photo is taken of a famous landmark, object, image or piece of art. Then Google will search its database to find the image and provide the user with instant information about their search [3; 7]. This creates a new form of interaction between consumer and product, which increases customer loyalty to the brand at hand [3]. AR has made an incredibly massive impact in the world of marketing and advertising.

The Future of PKB is definitely on the rise, especially with the usage of AR. Research in the United States has indicated a prediction cost of $300 million for 2013 in revenue related to AR [3]. Furthermore, marketing experts forecast a rise to $5.2 billion in AR related revenue in 2017 alone [3].This indicates that there is a massive rise in the effect that PKB is going to have in the world of advertising and marketing in the near future. In South Africa, PKB (in the form of AR) has not yet been grasped and executed to its full potential in the industry of advertising and marketing. With that said, the advertising and marketing industries should begin to include such trends into their strategic campaigns, because consumers are becoming more and more reliant on technology to provide information; hence, this trend should not be overlooked by marketers and advertisers [2; 7]. Additionally, the PKB trend has also foreseen the need to incorporate a variety of other markets such as DIY health, travel, education, sport, music, cooking and many more [7]. A point to be noted is that advertising and market trend-watchers have noticed a significant paradigm shift in the industry of mobile technology and PKB. They predict with the sporadic rise in the use of PKB, specifically AR, that it will be socially accepted by the world sooner than we can or even want to imagine [7].

In an interview with Larissa Laternser, Business Manager Soft Drinks at Ball Packaging Europe, Ms Laternser stated back in 2011 that the advertising and marketing industry has only tapped into one-percent of the PKB-AR trend [2]. This should be a wake up a call for all marketing and advertising firms to stake their claim in the pool of PKB-AR. Furthermore, Rick Odom, Staff Writer for, states that the days when the best prize will go to a well-designed cereal box, are just about over; because soon cereal boxes will be coming out on the shelves with full-developed AR videogames with the cereal box as the main play station [4].

But when we thought it was just boxes and objects that were being creatively included by the PKB trend of AR, a company called Visuar indicated that it is now being extended into the FMCG food industries as well [8]. Visuar has created an AR application that can be used on food, providing the consumer with early information about the product and any competitions related to the product [8].

It is evident that consumers crave information, which is nothing new [1]. However, the way in which they receive the information could be the deciding factor as to whether the consumer stays brand loyal or not. By providing consumers with information and knowledge of the brand, the brand offers the consumer a sense of power, control and certainty, which is bound to result in a high brand loyalty from the consumer [1].

So, the possibilities with PKB are endless. It is evident that PKB is on the rise. Additionally, the revenue which AR can potentially attract is astronomical. Furthermore, it is evident that consumers are craving information on the run. So, my question to you is, as a Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) organisation, how can you make the consumer experience a remarkable one? One whereby the words of consumers spread positivity about their experience with your brand or product? The answer: It all lies in the user experience attached to the PKB of your product.

[1] Food Stuff SA. 2012. Cutting-edge trendspotting: Point-Know-Buy. Available: [2013, August 29].
[2] Harrington, R. 2011. Ball hails brand boosting power of 'augemented reality' cans. Available: [2013, August 27].
[3] Kitchin, T. 2013. Augmented Reality - The Future of Advertising?. Available: [2013, September 01].
[4] Odom, R. n.d. Upcoming Innovations in Food Packaging: Augemented Reality. Available: [2013, August 29].
[5] QR codes in 2013. The History of QR Codes. Available: [2013, August 29].
[6] Smith, G. 2012. Top 12 Trends of 2012: Point & Know. Available: [2013, September 02].
[7] Trendwatching. 2012. Point-Know-Buy. Available: [2013, September 01].
[8] Visuar. 2012. Augmented Reality Applications: Food Industry Augmented Reality. Available: [2013, August 31].

26 Sep 2013 11:40


About the author

David is a brand strategist and researcher, at Boomtown. He does research on brands in the market in order to discover the "best practise" of the brand category and to understand why specific brands in the category have attained success. Then, with a team, he strategises and brainstorms as to how the brand can utilise the "best practise" techniques to assist the brand in birthing a unique, value adding brand strategy with the foresight of growing the brand, growing the sales of the brand and strengthening the relations that consumers have towards the brand.