Some Malibu Rum Bottles will be NFC-enabled
Some Malibu Rum Bottles will be NFC-enabled

Malibu, popular coconut flavoured rum, is  launching a new ‘connected’ bottle. Rolling out exclusively in Tesco at the beginning of September, the 40,000 ‘connected’ bottles use an entirely app-less technology called NFC (Near Field Communication); resulting in the largest global deployment of NFC on a consumer product in alcohol. This requires the user to do nothing except ‘tap’ their NFC-enabled android phone onto a Malibu sunset image on the bottle to access content and prize draws instantly.

As a global icon of summer, Malibu constantly experiments with innovative technology to make consumers’ experiences the best they can be. Exclusive research from Pernod Ricard UK reveals a growing trend for experiences not products, whereby consumers are no longer buying products and services – they are buying experiences delivered via the products and services. By changing the dynamics and challenging traditional views, brands can significantly increase their engagement with new and existing consumers and, the more innovative the approach, the more chance of reaching a new audience. Malibu has responded to this consumer need by introducing the ‘connected’ bottles technology; offering added value experiences to consumers by allowing them to interact instantly with minimal effort.

The pioneering campaign has been developed through an on-going partnership between Malibu and creative agency SharpEnd, and follows work undertaken at The ABSOLUT Company’s innovation lab in Stockholm, where Absolut and Malibu collaborated on a ‘connected’ bottles showcase. The project has now led to the very first pilot of this kind in the UK. Embracing the technology, Malibu will be turning each bottle into a direct, digital touchpoint for consumers. ‘Tapping’ the iconic sunset logo on the Malibu bottle will open up a world of five amazing digital #Becausesummer experiences that consumers can access through their mobile browser, including:

1. Instant-win competition – tap to win UE Boom speakers

2. User-generated-content competition – consumers are encouraged to upload a summer snap. Google’s Cloud Vision API will then use its automated machine learning capabilities to recognise the content of the image and classify it into a theme (e.g. BBQ, Festival, Beach). Once classified, a personalised, branded image is sent back to the consumer. They are then entered into a prize draw to win a holiday to Barbados (7 nights all-inclusive)

3. Bartender in a bottle – drinks recipes

4. Bar locator – uses the consumer’s geo-location to find the nearest Malibu bar and alfresco drinking spots if the weather is good

5. Playlist – connects to Malibu Play on mix cloud to give playlists from Groove Armada, Marvin Humes, Clean Bandit and more

Jo Alexander, Malibu Marketing Manager at Pernod Ricard UK, comments: “This is a huge step into an exciting future for the alcohol sector, and part of our on-going push for Malibu in the digital space. We couldn’t be more excited that Malibu is leading the way in brand innovation by bringing this advanced technology to the forefront of the industry. This concept is consistent with our ‘Because Summer’ wider campaign as we wanted to ensure that our target audience of young-adult fun starters could get the most out of summer – and our ‘connected’ bottles do just that with a number of exclusive prizes on offer at the tap of a bottle. As a first for Malibu, we know that this will be a huge hit with consumers and we can’t wait to see their reactions. This is just the beginning for this exciting new technology.”

Cameron Worth, Founder of SharpEnd comments: “Bottles are now media platforms, able to drive localised content that is defined by the market that sells the product and maintains the consumer relationship. Once the bottle becomes a media platform there are so many different things that can be delivered that are beneficial to shoppers. This provides an entirely new way to communicate with them and brings Malibu directly in front of its target audience, presenting the opportunity to drive brand loyalty through service delivery.” Tomas Roope, Creative Lead, ZOO Google Creative Services EMEA adds: “We are hugely excited about being part of bringing such a complex suite of technologies together, to build such a simple, user friendly bridge between packaging, mobile and shoppers’ passion for self-expression. For us this is a really intriguing exploration of something that only a few years ago would have been prohibitively complex technically. For us this really feels right on the edge of user retail innovation.”

The ‘connected’ bottles will be in-store from the beginning of September; all bottles will have an accompanying neck-tag to provide the consumer with a clear explanation of the technology.

Forward Vision Marketing | We Market Technology