Nestlé ITR is rolling out its new Smarties Cool Creatures travel retail exclusive set this month in Canada. In line with the brand’s "Learn Through Play" positioning, this new edition has been designed to spark imagination and encourage virtual exploration. The launch will be supported by high-profile in-store promotional activity and a range of pioneering digital activations, designed to deliver interactive phygital experiences that showcase a sustainable message and nurture appreciation for the underwater world.

The new Smarties Cool Creatures set features 4 x 34g Smarties Hexatubes in recyclable paper packaging, four activity sheets, eight colored pencils, stickers, and a play mat. Inspired by Nestlé’s Play in our Colourful World campaign, the set allows children to create and customize four different sea creature toys, all of which are designed with longevity of play and long-lasting enjoyment in mind.

Smarties was the first global confectionery brand to switch to recyclable paper packaging, and Nestlé has stated its ambition to make all of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025. “Sustainability is a core value that underpins every element of our design process, product execution, and communications,” noted Marketing Manager Aura Sanchez. “We understand the role sustainability now plays in purchasing decisions, and are committed to giving our consumers appropriate and responsible choices.” In addition to the recyclable packaging, the Smarties Cool Creatures set features chocolate made from 100% certified sustainable cocoa beans sourced through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan

Interaction between the physical world and the digital realm was integral to the development of this latest travel retail exclusive, which showcases Smarties’ focus on using phygital marketing as a way to educate and engage both the next and current generation of consumers. Nestlé ITR collaborated with two agencies on this new launch. ECHO, its long-term design and strategy partner for travel retail, designed the toys and digital elements. Augmented Reality content creation agency Zappar then brought the digital experience to life.

“This type of AR (Augmented Reality) is a significant first for Nestlé International Travel Retail,” explained Senior Brand Manager Macarena Jimenez. “Scanning the on-pack QR code gives access to a colorful, interactive virtual world, where users can become a marine explorer, learn fun facts and take part in a marine expert quiz. Once again Nestlé ITR is leading the narrative with an eye-catching travel retail exclusive, that cleverly combines its famous chocolate treats with a diverse range of imaginative, educational, and above all fun activities to keep travelers entertained while learning.

“We’re hugely excited about this innovative launch, and are confident it will further boost sales within the premium and gifting confectionery categories.”

Last year Nestlé announced its intention to build food into the #1 category in travel retail, with confectionery earmarked as a key growth driver. This ambitious strategy will be delivered through the VERSE model, which harnesses Value, Engagement, Regeneration, Sense of Place, and Execution.