Swedish liquor brand Absolut Vodka has partnered with London-based agency Sharp End (which specialises in helping brands prime their products for the Internet of Things) to create an innovation hub at its global headquarters in Stockholm.
Guests – predominantly bar/club owners and events partners – as well as consumer focus groups are being invited to the hub to pilot eight new ‘connected’ products and services across the Absolut Vodka, Malibu and Kahlua brands (the latter owned by umbrella company Pernod Ricard).
The first three concepts under development are dubbed Mood, Home Life and Provenance.
Mood: The Mood hub demonstrates how a connected bottle can interact with its surroundings to change the ambience. For instance, it illuminates with flashes of different colours, depending on the cocktail being poured, which in turn decides what music is played from the wireless speakers.
Home Life: The Home Life hub focuses on personalising daily life, as demonstrated by a weight-sensitive connected bottle that alerts nearby delivery drivers when the contents are running low. While useful for the home, the concept could also have significant benefits for hospitality brands.
Provenance: The Provenance hub shows drinkers where the bottle came from, using QR codes to reveal its supply chain journey and how the alcohol itself was made (see also Positive Provenance).
With the average adult expected to own 20 or more connected devices by the year 2020 (Altimeter, 2015) within increasingly connected homes and public spaces, the IoT’s continuous feedback loop delivers useful insights for future product development, as well as enhancing customer service.
Absolut hopes the innovation hub will help it expand to become a digital media/service-oriented company, much like the Fuelband did for Nike.
For more on tech-enhanced packaging, see Media-Enhanced Packaging and our new Packaging Futures Industry Trend, publishing on January 12 2016. For more on internal innovation culture, see Beta Brandscapes and Directional Brand HQs: Innovation Culture.