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Brief Published: 9 May 2013

Heineken’s Smart Packaging


In today's saturated drinks market, savvy brands are seeking ways to stand out on the shelf and in hospitality settings. To that end, Dutch beer brand Heineken unveiled its first 'interactive' beer bottle concept, Heineken Ignite, at this year's Milan Design Week trade fair.

Using a combination of LED lights, micro sensors and wireless networking technology, the vessel lights up when clinked with another, or when the drinker takes a sip. It can also be programmed to light up in synchronisation with music, making it ideal for use in nightclubs and bars.

In another technologically advanced initiative, Heineken-owned cider brand Strongbow is trialling the world's first digital bottle cap for its limited edition Strongbow Gold bottles. When flipped open, an embedded tag within the Start Cap activates RFID (radio frequency identification) scanners in the surrounding environment. Sensors then trigger a range of surprises, including checking the user into Foursquare or even firing off a confetti cannon. This concept was conceived in tandem with London-based creative agency Work Club, which will further evolve the idea as it is introduced across multiple territories.

For more on how brands are incorporating package design into their interior strategies, see Packaging Design Meets Store Concepts.

US beer brand Budweiser is also employing tech-enhanced packaging with its Facebook-integrated beer glass, trialled at an event in São Paulo in April 2013. The Buddy Cup includes a QR code, which drinkers scan to activate a microchip that's linked to their Facebook profiles. The glass then sends a Facebook friend request when the cups touch. Budweiser plans to introduce the cups at brand-sponsored events.

To read more about technology being leveraged as a consumer engagement tool, see Tech-Enhanced Packaging. For more on how alcohol brands are revitalising their packaging solutions to meet the needs of contemporary consumers, see Rebranding Alcohol.