‘Connected’ rum bottles and cups that communicate with bar staff using the internet of things − interactive packaging is big business. Compelo talks to smart tech pioneer Pernod Ricard.

Communication in a bar used to be confined to the people working or socialising in it.

Interactive packaging is changing all that. Consumers expect to communicate with packaging through QR codes, augmented reality or via smartphones.

interactive packaging - Compelo

French connection

Firstly, Pernod Ricard is leading this interactive packaging revolution. As a result, the French company recently produced 45,000 internet-connected bottles of its Malibu rum.

Android phone users who tap a high-tech tag behind the Malibu sunset logo arrive at a microsite. As a result, they were invited to upload photographs or download a playlist. Consumers could also find local bars and look up cocktail recipes.

The site recorded almost 3,000 visits via mobile devices with 50% of visitors immediately entering an instant-win game. Also, almost a quarter of users viewed a recipe or accessed a playlist.

In reality, for Absolut, it’s a win-win. Data provided helped Malibu see what consumers were interested in. In addition, Malibu owner Pernod Ricard could analyse large amounts of customer information.

Markus Wulff of Absolut Company told Beverage Packaging Innovation: “The NFC-enabled connected Malibu bottle was just the beginning and its success means we will continue to deliver more connected bottles into different markets around the world.”

Cup winner

Malibu Coco-nect cups communicate with bar staff, allowing drinkers to place an order by twisting the bases of their cups.

Staff are able to log and track drinkers’ exact locations. A light on the bottom changes colour when staff are making your drink. Moreover, it then starts flashing to help bar staff identify the right person when the drink is ready.

“Traipsing to a crowded bar to face a lengthy queue for drinks can put a real dampener on many social get-togethers,” Malibu global marketing brand manager Deborah Nunez told PCI, “while our research shows that FOMO – or the ‘fear of missing out’ – can be a real frustration for young people.”

Matthew Rogerson, editor of Packaging & Converting Intelligence, said: “The importance of how packaging feels is rapidly diminishing, while the digital technology that enables it to engage with consumers is becoming paramount.”

Read more about interactive packaging innovation in the latest editions of Packaging & Converting Intelligence and Beverage Packaging Innovation. Pernod Ricard CEO Alexandre Ricard talks business in the latest edition of Chief Executive Officer.

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