Malibu celebrates largest deployment of NFC enabled bottles

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

First large-scale pilot of smart Malibu bottles using NFC technology. Picture credit: Malibu.
First large-scale pilot of smart Malibu bottles using NFC technology. Picture credit: Malibu.

Related tags Consumer

Malibu, which manufactures and sells coconut flavored rum, has launched a smart bottle that delivers content to consumers’ smartphones via NFC (Near Field Communication).

The trial initiative is the largest deployment of smart bottles sold across 1,600 Tesco stores in the UK in partnership with SharpEnd, the first Internet of Things (IoT) agency.

IoT innovation lab at Malibu’s Head Office

Markus Wulff, digital innovation manager, Malibu, said the trial will target young adults to show that Malibu is dynamic and innovative.

The first Malibu connected bottles will hit Tesco stores from September 1, and gradually roll out nationwide over the next few weeks​,” he said.

We are looking forward to gathering insights from consumer interactions imminently. We are currently exploring different technologies to pilot in the markets all looking at how we can close the distance between us and our end-users​.”

The pilot is a result of work carried out by the IoT innovation lab at Malibu’s Head Office, in Stockholm in connection with the summer months – an occasion when consumers make the effort to do more and try new things.

Launching this NFC pilot enables us to evaluate how consumers react to the technology and determine what improvements we can implement for the next version. Next is the key word as this is all part of our ‘test and learn’ approach to embracing the internet of things​,” added Wulff.

Obviously the technology isn’t working for iPhones yet, and this is something we’re very aware of, so we know that this particular technology will gain more and more consumer adoption​.”

The way the smart enabled bottles work is NFC tags are applied to the products by passing them through a heat tunnel so they can remain intact and readable by a smartphone.

Consumers can then use their mobile browsers to unlock five digital experiences as part of its #BecauseSummer campaign. These include instant-win competitions; a user-generated-content competition – uploading a summer photo to enter into a prize draw to Barbados; drinks recipes; a geo-location to find the nearest Malibu bar and alfresco drinking spots and a Malibu playlist.

40,000 Malibu bottles

Wulff said small-scale trials with connected bottles have been tried before but this is the first large-scale pilot on 40,000 Malibu bottles from now until December 31.

The trial will focus on two consumer tech issues: Ease of use – Unlike QR codes, NFC offers a high level of control. When a smartphone is tapped against or waved over a product, the task written to the tag is carried out immediately. No apps are needed.

And, data privacy – Despite NFC being a less intrusive method of gathering customer data, compared with Bluetooth for example, it has not previously been tested on this scale.

Malibu will take advantage of this opportunity by monitoring consumer appetite, specifically how the product is purchased and consumed.

In research carried out by SharpEnd and marketing company Mindshare 62% of consumers are open to brands and connected products collecting data if they receive something of perceived value in exchange.

However, if the effort of interaction outweighs those benefits, consumer engagement is unlikely.

Cameron Worth, founder, SharpEnd said with the IoT industry predicted to be worth $531bn to the UK economy by 2030, connected products will play an increasing role in providing services in the home and collecting and utilising data to streamline daily lives. 

Bottles are now able to drive localized 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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