RFID bottle top

Digital bottle cap takes beverage marketing to a new level

London-based digital agency, Work Club, has devised a very cool new campaign for Strongbow Gold Cider – a digitally-connected bottle cap called StartCap which when flipped becomes a trigger for something to happen – anything from automatically checking users into Foursquare (location-based social networking website for mobile devices) to activating a spotlight or firing a glitter cannon.

At a time when beer sales are in decline and consumers’ preference for sweeter drinks is rising, Strongbow’s owner, Heineken, is eager to roll out the cider brand in many territories worldwide where consumers don’t even know what cider is. The challenge, then, is: how to introduce the product and educate consumers?

Work Club’s strategy uses digital to bring to life the proposition that drinking Strongbow provides a fresher start to an evening out on the town and encourage drinkers to try something different.

“The starting point was to use digital to create something of interest that because it was interesting would also be social. Technology allows you to bring product, customer, and brand much closer together,” Work Club’s Ben Mooge explains.

“As an agency, our approach is to use technology to create a brand platform to tell a story which can then be captured and spread socially. It’s about doing something interesting using technology first, then using digital as the accelerant. The trick is not to over-complicate it – do something too tricks-y or too futuristic and people struggle to see the point.”

With StartCap, an idea evolved by Work Club over four months and through 40 different iterations, the message is the product itself. In its current beta form, StartCap uses an RFID tag embedded in the cap of a limited-edition bottle. The tag is carefully secured beneath transparent paper to ensure it doesn’t snag on the bottle top’s sticky foil, which is perforated on one side to ensure it easily breaks when opened–propelling the tag away.

The bottle cap becomes a trigger when popped and RFID scanners in the environment in which the bottle is opened are activated. Over the past couple of weeks the prototype has been used at launch events in Budapest and Rome and footage of its various uses has been edited into online films for social distribution. Moving forward, Mooge adds, the agency hopes to further evolve the concept as StartCap is rolled out into other territories.

StartCap is the latest in a series of Internet-of-things innovations developed by Work Club…..

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