Pernod Ricard's Malibu to debut "connected bottles". Source: Shutterstock

Pernod Ricard’s Malibu to debut “connected bottles”. Source: Shutterstock

Pernod Ricard’s Malibu turns bottles into media touchpoints with IoT

COCONUT flavored Malibu Rum is about to add a splash of technology to its drink in the US market with the internet of things (IoT).

According to the company’s most recent announcement, Pernod Ricard-owned, Absolute Vodka operated-Malibu Rum will be developing “connected bottles” for release in the US market after successful debuts in the UK and Germany last year.

The Paris-headquartered brewery earned about EUR 8.9 billion (US$10 billion) in revenues in 2018 and has been experimenting with connected bottles since 2015.

Today, it uses IoT in conjunction with near field communication (NFC) embedded into aluminum bottle caps to turn bottles into media touchpoints that help build engagement with customers.

Malibu will deploy 300,000 connected bottles in the states of Ohio and Texas as part of The Malibu Games 2019.

The launch of the new limited-edition connected bottles provides US local consumers access to exclusive Malibu Games content with just one tap of their mobile device.

Equipped with a world-leading design that showcases an aluminum bottle cap integrating NFC technology, as well as a QR code printed on the bottleneck, consumers are able to tap the bottles with their mobile devices and access an exclusive Malibu Games content experience.

“Through the adoption of the IoT initiative, Malibu has transformed its bottles into media touchpoints, meaning we’re able to start a new conversation in a space that is notoriously saturated,” said Malibu Global Brand Manager Caitriona Murphy.

“Our connected bottles help keep the brand relevant post-purchase, providing services and experiences to the consumer beyond the liquid itself. Bringing the Malibu Games experience to consumers and allowing them to join in and share good times with friends is all part of the Malibu ethos”

The connected bottle will give consumers the opportunity to join the Malibu Games, via a mobile game called Sunshine Slide, for the chance to win prizes.

The bottles will also include fun new additions like drinks recipes and sweepstake competitions for consumers to enjoy.

“With a chip in every bottle, Malibu makes a big push in bringing IoT to FMCG. With unproven tech like this, the need for constant iteration and testing made us work closer with Malibu than ever before – and it’s been a blast to boost their innovative spirit with creativity and gamification,” explained Creative Agency VIRTUE’s Director Simone Quistgaard.

“Now that NFC becomes more naturally integrated in newer generations of phones, we’re sure to see more opportunities to marry Point of Sale, Experiential and CRM in the future.”

Not just IoT, Malibu is doing more with digital

The Malibu Games was started last year and gained 5.4 million engagements, 155 million video views, and 2.1 million website visits.

According to the press release announcing the 2019 edition of the event, the company emphasized its focus on customers — who’re young and expect to interact with the brand through digital touchpoints.

This understanding has led the company to go big on influencer marketing this year, another key digital initiative for the brand.

“Through a strategic influencer platform employed through The Malibu Games, Malibu aims to drive fame and reach, ultimately becoming one of the most talked about spirits brands during summer,” said the press release.

“Our digital-first approach combined with influencer collaborations is what keeps Malibu front of mind with young adults,” explained Malibu Global Marketing Manager Monica Höhle.

“Instead of leading with our liquid’s credentials, we target our audience by taking them on a journey, looking for ways to insert Malibu into the experiences they crave and collect. The Malibu Games gives us a way to own a drinking occasion that is both locally and globally relevant.”

Consumers are given access to The Malibu Games kick-off event via their favorite influencers posting on social media and by following the hashtags #MalibuGames and #BecauseSummer.

Overall, it goes to show how Malibu, Absolut Vodka, and Pernod Ricard as a group are all going big on digital, to meet expectations and delight and wow customers.