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Malibu rum unveils ‘connected’ bottles

Pernod Ricard has created 45,000 near field communication (NFC) enabled bottles for its Malibu coconut-flavoured rum brand, described as “the world’s very first pilot of its kind”.

Pernod Ricard has released a ‘connected’ bottle for its Malibu coconut-flavoured rum brand

Representing the “largest global deployment ever of NFC on an alcohol product”, the bottles provide a “direct, digital touchpoint for consumers”.

As part of Malibu’s ‘Because Summer’ campaign, shoppers can tap their NFC-enabled android phone onto the bottle’s sunset image to access engaging digital content.

Malibu partnered with creative agency SharpEnd to create the bottle technology, which provides five ‘Because Summer’ experiences, including: instant-win competitions (UE Boom speakers), user-generated content competition (holiday in Barbados), bartender in a bottle (summer drinks recipes), bar locator (geo-location to find the nearest Malibu bars and outdoor drinking spots), playlist (connects users to Malibu Play on mix cloud).

“This is a huge world-first for Malibu and the wider alcohol sector, and reinforces our commitment to pushing the boundaries for Malibu in the digital arena,” said Colin Kavanagh, Malibu global VP for marketing.

“We are very excited that Malibu is the first spirits brand to bring this innovative technology to the forefront of the industry, and we look forward to rolling out the concept around the world.”

The ‘connected’ Malibu bottles will be available across the UK exclusively through Tesco stores from the beginning of September.

The technology is not Pernod Ricard’s first play in ‘connected’ bottles – the group has used the patented QR code Puma device on all of its products shipped to China over the last three years.

“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,” said Cameron Worth, founder of SharpEnd.

“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.”

A number of other drinks groups have released their own innovations in bottle cap technology in recent years as part of a bid to market their products to a new generation of drinkers.

In December last year, Diageo’s technology Ventures team launched the Johnnie Walker Blue Label ‘smart bottle’ in Thailand on a trial basis, after first unveiling the prototype in February.

Rémy Martin also released a bottle containing opening detection technology to “guarantee the authenticity of the product” in 2015.

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