Dairy co-operative Norco has entered the augmented reality universe with ‘Cow’s Play’ – a gamified approach to educating kids on where their milk comes from and the important role animal wellbeing and enrichment has in producing great tasting milk.
With research revealing that one in four Aussie children aged five to 12 think their food originates from a supermarket shelf[i],, the immersive “Cows Play” game aims to keep Norco’s virtual cows – Elle and Belle – happy through different forms of enrichment while delivering fun and engaging dairy facts.
A dairy category first, the augmented reality ‘Cow’s Play’ game is today’s answer to the collectables of the past and can only be played by scanning the QR code on specially marked Norco labels on their two and three litre Full Cream and Lite milks, and two litre Lactose Free Full Cream milk between August and November.
Norco General Manager Commercial and Strategy Ben Menzies says Norco is continually striving to ensure that the dairy co-operative remains at the forefront of dairy industry innovation.
“We have a highlighted focus on technology and product innovation, whilst supporting important dairy industry initiatives and driving consumer interest and demand.
“Our community of 280 dairy farmers have been raising the healthiest and happiest herds since 1895, and our farmers know that being at the forefront of animal enrichment is key to producing the tastiest, most nutritious milk,” he said.
“We felt utilising technology in the form of augmented reality gamification to educate our youngest consumers on where their food comes from, was a way of creating and sharing educational content in a fun and contemporary way.
“As the number of dairy farms continue to decline in Australia, we believe this platform enables our next generation of consumers to feel connected to where their food comes from, and more importantly connected to the hard-working Australian dairy farmers that play an integral role in nourishing Australian families every day,” Mr Menzies said.
The importance of ‘Cows Play’ for Elle and Belle
Following research from University of New England, presented by PhD student Emily Dickson at the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium last November, dairy farmers have become increasingly curious about how to provide enrichment to promote better welfare for their herds.
According to Ms Dickson, enrichment promotes positive welfare which may have flow-on effects for milk production in dairy cows. Moreover, environmental enrichment aims to increase the complexity of an animal’s environment, allowing it to explore the range of behaviours it can perform.
Ms Dickson said improving animal welfare through environmental enrichment is increasing but fundamental research to quantify the benefits and impact needs to be improved.
Norco dairy farmers Scott and Renae Connell are putting playful aspects of cow enrichment to the test with the integration of ball games and intervals of play time for their herd.
Bringing Norco’s AR ‘Cows Play’ program to life on farm, the Connell’s are actively monitoring the positive impacts of ball playtime on their herds, a precursor to any further research studies on cow enrichment undertaken in Australia.
To support the launch, an integrated TV and outdoor advertising campaign will be rolled. The campaign features Norco dairy farmers, Scott and Renae Connell, bringing Norco’s AR “Cows Play games to life on farm, as they trial putting intervals of ‘ball play’ to the test with their herd, as a precursor to further Australian research studies on cow enrichment being explored over the coming months.
Designed to get more family households buying Norco milk, the ‘Cow’s Play’ Augmented Reality game was launched at Queensland’s EKKA and is now rolling out on labels into supermarkets. To support the launch, an integrated TVC and OOH advertising campaign will feature Norco farmers, Scott and Renae Connell demonstrating how they enrich the lives of their cows.