Tom's blog

Augmented labels go nuts

My recent column about the introduction of augmented wine labels -- labels that become animated once a device's camera is applied -- drew a response from Treasury Wine Estates. The column featured two particular TWE labels -- 19 Crimes and Walking Dead. 

My figures about their popularity was vastly outdated. In fact, the Living Labels app has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times. More importantly, sales of Walking Dead are doing so well that future sales have been put on allocation. 

All of this reinforces my observation that sizzle continues to sell. What's outside the bottle is becoming a more influential draw that what's inside the bottle. Having made that generalization, however, these wines are pretty tasty.

I think what is bothering me of late are the number of new labels I've experienced in my daily wine tastings. So many of them are being born out of garages -- their owners have no vineyards and no winery, just a label they hope will catch the eye of consumers.  Labels like Cupcake (a name invented because its creator says everyone likes a cupcake, right?) are proof of the name's importance. I swear people buy Menage e Trois because they love to speak French and there's a daring sin involved in the name.

I don't anyone for being attracted to these gimmicks. But please don't judge the wine on its cover. Taste it and go back for more, if you like it.