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Malibu Rum Launches Connected Bottles To Deliver Consumer Content

In the Internet of Things, anything that can be connected will be connected 

That now even holds true for bottles of rum.

Absolut Vodka, which ships around 100 million bottles a year, was experimenting with connecting bottles last year, as I wrote about here at the time (‘Agency Of Things’ Aims To Connect Brands).

The brand tapped London-based SharpEnd, which bills itself as the agency of things, to explore using bottles as a way to better service customers by leveraging location information. The agency and Absolut conducted some trials of NFC-enabled bottles in the company’s IoT innovation lab in Stockholm.

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The lab tests scalable growth opportunities for connected products, services and experiences driven by technological innovation.

That test is now turning into a mega-rollout of connected bottles of Malibu rum.

Some 40,000 bottles of Malibu rum are being shipped with NFC tags and go on sale Sept. 1. (In the how-sausage-is-made department, the NFC tags are applied to the bottles by passing them through a heat tunnel, which allows the tags to be smartphone readable after application.)

The bottles go on sale starting in 1,600 Tesco stores in the U.K.

No mobile app is required and consumers can use their phones to tap the bottles to unlock five digital experiences, according to SharpEnd.

These include an instant-win competition, bar locator, drink recipes, music playlists and user-generated content, also with a potential prize.

The NFC will trigger the engagement by a smartphone either being tapped or waved over the rum bottle.

“By embracing suitable and scalable technologies onto our packaging, we can turn each bottle into a direct, digital touchpoint for consumers all across the world,” said Markus Wulff, digital innovation manager at Malibu.

When I last spoke with SharpEnd founder Cameron Worth, he described the potential of connectivity via bottles.

“The connected bottle is a holistic channel once it links to Web-based content,” he said at the time.

“Bottles are now able to drive localized content, providing an entirely new way to communicate with consumers and bringing the brand directly in front of their target audience, presenting the opportunity to drive brand loyalty through service delivery,” he said yesterday.

Now even a bottle of rum can become smart.

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