Consumers can unlock a Snapcode on the bottle design to gain access to an over-18s microsite featuring Ibiza Rocks Spotify playlist, Malibu Summer drink recipes and a competition to win a holiday to the Ibiza Rocks Hotel.
“Malibu has worked with Ibiza Rocks to create experience-led branding for the last four years, featuring aspirational occasions such as, pool parties by Craig David at the Ibiza Rocks Hotel and Instagrammable boat parties,” said Toni Ingram, head of marketing, Pernod Ricard UK.
It is not the first time, Pernod Ricard has launched an Internet of Things (IoT) campaign. In the past it has worked with SharpEnd and its founder, Cameron Worth, to find new ways to connect with its target audience of 18-24-year-olds.
“We will be doing some small scale pilots at various summer festivals this year to engage with customers in new and interesting ways, across Europe,” said Worth.
The entrepreneur founded SharpEnd four years’ ago. As well as Pernod Ricard, clients include Unilever, Nestlé and Estée Lauder, and he has offices in London and Stockholm.
“We started to work with Absolut vodka in 2014, which is part of Pernod Ricard, which gave us the opportunity to do some great work together. We spoke about how they were approaching their technical innovation across Malibu and we now support all of their brands and technical innovation programs making sure everything is reported effectively and efficiently.
“This includes anything from using the programs they have already got and extending them across the group, such as connected bottles, shared learning, making sure all the brands are up-to-date on their technical capabilities, and working with on and off trade visibility to move the business forward.
“Pernod Ricard is a ‘decentralized’ company so working with them is like working with five different clients with different structures, which can make it really interesting.
“For example, how do you connect 2 billion bottles a year to 500 bars? We are trying to do less experimental stunt-style campaigns to looking at activation tools to collect data.”
Worth said the focus now is on building on the success of the IoT ‘Malibu journey’ on how to position Pernod Ricard’s brands for the future, not just Absolut vodka but others as well, making sure the bottles ‘deliver consumer value propositions’, and what are the right technologies moving forward, using the bottle as an engagement tool.
“More brands are deploying smart packaging at scale and NFC (Near Field Communication) is by far the most interesting technology in terms of how you engage with consumers,” he said.
“To have native capability across Smartphones and Android, with the iPhones for example, you need a third party app to engage with an NFC tag but with Android is its totally native. In the future we will see more media players on sites such as FaceBook and Spotify deploying NFC in the real world to link into all systems, this will start happening within the next 12 months.
“Not only that but the cost of tags will come down significantly as there is a lot of innovation happening right now around the materials used in NFC tags.
“At the moment only high end brands are using it but if it becomes cheaper the Unilever and P&G (Procter & Gamble) companies of this world will start using them. NFC will lead to higher consumer awareness and will become a normality after a while. Smart packaging is a less of a novelty now than it was a few years ago but it’s still not a normal thing for brands to deploy. Moving forward however, a huge amount of brands will start to deploy it.”
Worth said the second key area to note is there is wider activity of a brand across the retail sector now, which was lacking in the past. For example, sensors which can be applied to a packaging in retail, or in the home.
“The way people use Amazon Echo is overestimated, talking to a hands-free speaker is a bit robotic and convoluted because you lose the magic. The main opportunity for brands is how you become a native partner in the voice platform by engaging with your brand and receiving a response,” added Worth.
“From a wider trends perspective, the shift now is moving away from brands entertaining people and using technology to capture people’s imagination in a way that is useful to them.
“A lot of what we are trying to do now is create a wow moment and solve issues at the same time, for example, with the Malibu Connect Ibiza Rocks campaign last year, we were looking at how we could connect people drinking from their cup at a music festival and supercharging it electronically so that people don’t have to queue to pay for their drinks.
“By doing this, the barman electronically picks up the order from the bar, and hands it to the person without having to queue for a drink, making the experience better.”
Next, Worth said SharpEnd will be working on a number of campaigns with Nestle and Unilever, but preferred not to disclose too many details.
“We have some interesting work in the confectionery sector which will be happening around October, focusing on augmentation and the chocolate gifting experience in Asia and we have just signed with a major sportswear brand.
“One of the main things we are trying to do this year, in our fourth year of business is to solidify or create ongoing propositions for our brands. We have always enjoyed working with Malibu because they are enthusiastic about trying new things. It has allowed us to create some interesting projects and now we are trying to take other brands on that journey.
“In the past, it used to be people interacting with their fridges and their dairy packaging but brands are much more informed now and more willing to invest in this area because it has moved away from ‘cute gimmicky’ stuff, to discovering how to ‘move the dial’ in terms of delivering engaging content."