Refreshing runners: Kenya Safari Marathon connected experience

Jenny Stanley, MD at Appetite Creative, explains how connected packaging contributed to the successful staging of the Lewa Safari Marathon in Kenya.In June 2022, the worlds leading food processing and packaging solutions company, Tetra Pak, partnered with the Lewa Safari marathon in Kenya to hydrate the runners with its new sustainable cartons of water. The cartons featured a bespoke connected experience developed by the team at Appetite Creative, accessible via QR codes.

The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya is home to the annual Lewa Safari Marathon organised by Tusk and Lewa in Safaricom. The internationally acclaimed event runs through one of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife conservancies and a World Heritage Site. Each year, participants share the reserve with several large African predators, including lions, leopards, hyenas, and wild dogs. Individuals and corporate teams enjoy an unforgettable experience running alongside some of Africa’s most amazing wildlife and witnessing first-hand the difference made by the funds raised. There were regulations in place against the use of single use plastic, so Tetra Pak cartons of water were used instead of bottles of water.

The brief
Branded content on the Tetra Pak web-based app looked to drive awareness of the marathon, give the runners route details, and share information about Lewa’s wildlife. The connected experience also communicated the advancements and actions that Tetra Pak is taking to ensure the sustainable production of its products in African communities.

The engaging, entertaining, and educational content included interactive fun games, quizzes, and marathon route maps. The ‘Find the animals’ game challenged users to discover animals in some of the most beautiful landscapes in Kenya. ‘Find the routes’ was a simple but useful map of the marathon routes.

The quiz asked users about their sustainability and recycling approaches – and collected valuable insights about their behaviours and product preferences. In fact, a brand’s wider contribution to, or impact on, society is a growing consideration for consumers, with sustainability one of the key topics under scrutiny. We’re seeing a growing demand for sustainable technology solutions. Brands are increasingly looking to combine environmentally-friendly business practices with consumer education and engagement. At Appetite Creative, we’ve worked on several web-based recycling education programmes. We’ve been helping marketers deliver important information in a way that is easy to digest and action, empowering them to make the right choices for themselves and the planet.

The results
The web app tracked real-time interaction, such as average engagement time, location, scan rate, number of visitors, return visitors and social media shares, including GDPR-compliant personal data to enable the brand to optimise its marketing and better understand consumers. 

Connected packaging campaigns regularly generate a 14 per cent scan/clickthrough rate (CTR), much higher than a digital advertising campaign usually pf around 0.01 per cent. They are not only impactful, but also cost effective. The average cost per digital advertising click is £1.50, whereas a ‘click’ or scan on packaging is technically free, giving brands a compelling reason to use connected packaging. 

Widely used by thousands of the marathon participants, volunteers and spectators, the connected experience had an above average engagement time of 2min 39sec. This showed that most users engaged with the app. The annual Lewa Safari Marathon raised more than £6m for frontline conservation, schools, and healthcare initiatives across Kenya.  

At the recent Connected Packaging Summit 2022, Sharon Kawinzi, Operational Marketing Manager at Tetra Pak Eastern Africa spoke about the campaign. She said“: This is a marathon that’s considered a ‘must do’ for runners across a range of abilities, from children to elite runners. This was the first marathon in two years, and in 2019 the government banned the use of plastics in national parks and forests, so the organisers needed a new solution, which is why Tetra Pak supplied water in cartons. It was a family event, so we needed to create an interactive platform that cut across the entire audience. We had a full story on sustainability to watch and engage with, as well as hydration point information and fun activities too. It was received very positively.”

At Appetite Creative, we’ve certainly seen a significant increase in the adoption of connected packaging. The combination of QR code popularity and rising recognition of its value has, in my view, created a tipping point for connected packaging. 

Consumers now see QR codes as a normal way to access branded content, games, and experiences – and they’re happy to share their personal data in exchange for this value add. Combined with the rise of connected packaging experiences, brands are increasing their investment in this supercharged media channel like never before, and the results are impressive.

With an ever-growing need for brands to act responsibly when it comes to environmental and cultural policies, connected packaging and the wider technology supporting it provides a smart solution. It offers an efficient and cost-effective way to collect data, develop products and communicate directly with customers in real time, as well as a simple way to improve a variety of business credentials. Across the global stage, from Africa to Spain and the UK, it has never been so valuable and in demand.