Smart drinking by Malibu

Never thought drinking booze lead to more smartness? Well it could. The bad news: the benefits are for the Pernod-Ricard Group, not for you. Pernod has recently equipped 45,000 of its Malibu bottles with a NFC chip. The test will run in until december 2016 in 1,600 Tesco supermarkets in the UK. 

How does it work? 

Consumers ‘touching' a bottle with an NFC-enabled smartphone, get acces to Malibu branded content. Pernod-Ricard claims that this is the largest global deployment ever of NFC on an alcoholic product. 

Wat will they get? 

According to the press release, issued by Pernod-Ricard UK, the following pieces of branded content will be available for consumers: 

  1. Instant-win competition – tap to win UE Boom speakers 
  2. User-generated-content competition – consumers are encouraged to upload a summer snap. Google's Cloud Vision API will then use its automated machine learning capabilities to recognise the content of the image and classify it into a theme (e.g. BBQ, Festival, Beach). Once classified, a personalised, branded image is sent back to the consumer. They are then entered into a prize draw to win a holiday to Barbados (7 nights all-inclusive) 
  3. Bartender in a bottle – drinks recipes 
  4. Bar locator – uses the consumer’s geo-location to find the nearest Malibu bar and alfresco drinking spots if the weather is good 
  5. Playlist – connects to Malibu Play on mix cloud to give playlists from Groove Armada, Marvin Humes, Clean Bandit and more

So what is actually tested?  

For Pernod-Ricard this is a way to test the user friendliness of NFC. Especially since the technology doesn’t require an app to be installed. Anther goal is to get insights in where the products are bought and consumed. Getting this location based information could add to a profound understanding of the settings in which the product is purchased and consumed.   

Will it work?

Looking at the concept from a consumers’ point of view, it's unclear whether they are really looking for this kind of information amidst all of the advertisement that is already being pushed. 

The content alone does not seem to be so unique it will automatically convince drinkers to use this piece of tech:  Contests and games may have a certain attractiveness to people. But are there that many Malibu fans actively on the look out for a bar where they can buy this particular drink? The concept will probably not be an actual solution for communication with consumers in the long run: who is interested in tapping every bottle he or she buys it?  We predict that the newness of this concept will drive its usage mainly. Apart from some experiments by Johnny Walker and Remy Martin, NFC has not been deployed that often yet. 

Whether the test will be a succes will depend heavily on its actual usage. We are vey much interested in the outcomes.