- Pernod Ricard's Malibu brand of coconut-flavored rum is bringing its "connected bottle" to the U.S. for the first time after testing it in the U.K. and Germany, according to a company announcement.
- Customers can either tap their smartphone on the bottle's cap, which is equipped with a near-field communications (NFC) tag, or scan a QR code printed on the bottle's neck with a camera to activate a mobile website that lets users play the "Ride the Sunshine Slide" game for a chance to win branded swag.
- In addition to the mobile game, the site unlocks Malibu cocktail recipes and other exclusive content that aims to develop a more meaningful digital conversation with customers, Brand Director Troy Gorczyca said in the announcement.
Malibu this month brings its interactive packaging to the U.S. after experimenting with various forms of the "connected bottle" for the past three years in Europe. The packaging appears to target tech-savvy millennials and older Gen Z consumers (21+) who are generally inseparable from their smartphones and seek engaging experiences. Malibu typically targets young adults with campaigns that connect the brand to fun summer activities such as attending music festivals or beach parties. The new mobile game seeks to position Malibu as a fun summer beverage brand with its merchandise giveaways while also gathering customer email addresses for future promotions.
In 2016, the rum brand introduced a similar NFC-connected bottle in the U.K. that also offered rewards to customers. The pilot saw a 3% engagement rate as consumers spent time with its website content. Malibu ran a similar campaign in the Netherlands in 2017, and the following year added Snapcodes to 130,000 bottles to support a campaign on Snapchat around reaching tech-savvy rum drinkers, Beverage Daily reported.
Malibu is among the liquor brands that have added interactive experiences to their packaging to tell a more holistic brand story at the point of sale. The strategy is especially important in reaching younger adults who may want to experiment with cocktail recipes, but could be intimidated by the vast selection of labels and bottles they see at liquor stores. Jack Daniel's, Shackleton Whiskey, Jägermeister, Patrón and Diageo's Bulleit Bourbon, among others, also have developed interactive mobile campaigns aimed at prolonging brand exposure and providing richer experiences for customers.
Accompanying its mobile efforts, Mobile is also active in social media campaigns, such as its "101 Days of Because Summer" two years ago that enlisted social influences to urge their followers to share their summer experiences with the beverage. Malibu has sponsored Snapchat lenses and geofilters that corresponded with special events, such as National Piña Colada Day, and created a YouTube video called "Party Animals" with professional surfer Alana Blanchard to raise awareness for sea turtle conservation efforts, a cause-driven campaign that sought to resonate with socially conscious young adults. The #BecauseSummer campaign generated 45 million video views and 41 million impressions from influencers, and helped to boost global sales of Malibu by 6% last year, per Pernod Ricard's annual report.