Malibu gets serious about connected bottles as it moves past the industry’s ‘glitzy one-offs’

Malibu

Malibu is diving headlong in to the internet of things with the roll out of 40,000 connected bottles across the UK in what the coconut rum brand says is the largest global execution of NFC enabled bottles to date.

The pilot exercise will see the bottles appear across 1,600 Tesco stores from September, and requires the consumer to do nothing with their phone except ‘tap’ an NFC-enabled android phone on to an image of a ‘Malibu sunset’ to access content and win prizes.

Once the bottle is tapped, consumers will have access to five different digital experiences including an instant win of UE Boom speakers, a user generated competition that could result in winning a holiday to Barbados, drinks recipes, a bar locator and a curated music playlist on MixCloud.

There is no need to download an app, the phone simply has to be unlocked.

“The exciting thing about this project is that it is not a PR stunt. We are going to use it to garner a lot of insight and learning and then we can take those learnings into how we engage with our consumers and what experiences we can bring to them,” Jo Alexander, Malibu marketing manager told The Drum.

“In the last two years we have been really innovation led, not just in technology but in media… This is just a natural continuation of that innovation strand and using new innovation to become closer to our consumers. While we have used technology in this aspect, we will continue to use innovate in the media space to become closer to our consumers.”

The drive is an extension of Malibu’s current ‘Because Summer’ campaign, which saw it become the first alcohol brand to use a Snapchat filter. The idea behind the NFC push is to turn each of the bottles into an experience that can be delivered direct to consumer’s phones wherever they are.

To encourage consumer take-up of the connected bottles, Malibu has strategically based the language in its communication around ‘tapping’, which most consumers are now comfortable with given the rise of contactless debit cards.

Speaking to The Drum Cameron Worth, founder of SharpEnd, the Internet of Things (IoT) agency behind the campaign, said that until now the alcohol industry’s use of the trend has been focused on getting a “couple of press inches”, whereas the push from Malibu is about delivering IoT experiences at scale.

“Up until now the industry has been looking at connected bottles as a bit of showpiece for conferences and journalists,” he said. “Up until now that was how the drinks industry was looking at the internet of things. What we have done is really looked at the internet of things, and how it delivers consumer values and what are the ways in which it can scale.”

Worth explained that the fact Malibu is running the pilot across 40,000 bottles is a “key differentiator” for the brand because “we are taking it very seriously”.

“What we have done is looked at the trend of ‘connectivity everywhere’ and thought about how can we use the bottle to deliver great services and experiences to our young, fun starters that reinforce Malibu’s position as the global icon of summer."

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Natalie Mortimer

I look after all things creative.

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