40,000 NFC-connected Malibu bottles are heading to Tesco stores
40,000 NFC-connected Malibu bottles are heading to Tesco stores
40,000 NFC-connected Malibu bottles are heading to Tesco stores

40,000 NFC-connected Malibu bottles are heading to Tesco stores

Rum drinks maker Malibu is taking thousands of NFC tagged bottles into Tesco retail stores, in a bid to drive closer engagement with its younger buyers.

Cocktail drinks manufacturer Malibu will push 40,000 connected bottles to 1,600 Tesco stores in a pilot project that is expected to initially run from 1st September to 31st December.

The new smart bottle delivers content via NFC to paired smartphones. NFC tags are applied to bottles by passing the through a heat tunnel (enabling them to be read by smartphones), with consumers then able to tap their smartphones against the logo on the bottle to unlock a number of new digital experiences.

These experiences, offered as part of Malibu’s #BecauseSummer campaign, include the opportunity to win UE Boom speakers, the chance to view drinks recipes, locate nearby bars serving Malibu, or listen to a pre-selected music playlist.

There’s also a user-generated content competition, where users can upload their snaps to receive a personalized image (using Google API) and entrance into a prize draw to win a week’s holiday in Barbados.

Internet of Business understands that the tags currently only work on Android phones also iOS compatible is ‘coming soon’. The NFC capabilities on iPhone are currently restricted and developers do not have access to it.

Related: How American Apparel improved sales and inventory management with RFID

NFC over QR codes and Bluetooth

The scheme has been launched in the UK in partnership with London-based IoT consultancy SharpEnd. SharpEnd worked with the drink maker’s IoT innovation lab at Malibu’s HQ in Stockholm, with the resulting #BecauseSummer strategy introduced to engage younger adults at a time of year (summer) when they are more open to doing new things.

In the press release announcing the news, SharpEnd said that NFC was chosen over QR codes because no mobile application is required (consumers are often irritated by this, and loyalty-based mobile apps increasingly have little traction – Ed), while Bluetooth beacons were deemed to be too invasive on personal data collection. Furthermore, the agency said that Bluetooth beacons have not been tested at such scale.

Recent research carried out by SharpEnd in collaboration with marketing company Mindshare found that 62 percent 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.

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 in a statement: “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.”

Tesco is also currently exploring with IoT and robotics, as CTO Edmond Mesrobian told us at the Internet of Retail.

Related: Whitepaper – What is the future of IoT in retail?