Malibu launches NFC smart bottle


Delivers content to consumer smartphones via NFC

Malibu, the coconut flavoured rum, is celebrating a global first with the largest deployment of near field communication (NFC) enabled bottles. The bottles will be sold in 1,600 Tesco stores in the UK in partnership with SharpEnd, an Internet of Things (IoT) agency. The trial is part of an ongoing strategy by Malibu to target young adults.

The pilot is a result of work done through the IoT innovation lab at Malibu’s head office, in Stockholm, Sweden. Launched at the end of last year, the lab tested scalable growth opportunities for connected products, services and experiences driven by technology innovation.

The connected Malibu bottle is designed to shake up how consumers interact with products. NFC tags are applied to the bottles by passing them through a heat tunnel, which allows the tags to remain intact and readable by smartphones after application. Consumers can use their mobile browsers to unlock one of five digital experiences by tapping their smartphones against the Malibu sunset picture on the bottles.

While small scale trials with connected bottles have been run before, this is the very first high volume trial of its kind. The NFC technology will feature on 40,000 Malibu bottles in the period up to 31 December. Malibu will take advantage of this opportunity by monitoring consumer appetite, specifically how the product is purchased and consumed

Recent research carried out by SharpEnd and marketing company, Mindshare, found that 62% of consumers are willing to let brands and connected products collect data if they receive something of perceived value in exchange. However, if the effort of interaction outweighs those recognised benefits, consumer engagement is likely to lessen. With the IoT industry predicted to be worth $531 billion to the UK economy by 2030, connected products are set to play an increasing role in providing services in the home and collecting and utilising data to streamline our daily lives.

On the impact connected bottles could have, Markus Wulff, digital innovation manager at Malibu, said: “By embracing suitable and scalable technologies onto our packaging, we can turn each bottle into a direct, digital touch point for consumers all across the world.”

Cameron Worth, SharpEnd founder, added: “Bottles are now able to drive localised 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.”


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