News & Views

Heineken / Ignite Bottle

by Contagious Team

Premium lager reinvents nightlife experience with interactive bottle

Dutch beer brand Heineken has launched the world's first 'smart' beer bottle at Milan Design Week.

Each Ignite bottle lights up when it comes into contact with another Heineken, sparks when someone takes a sip, and 'sleeps' when it's not being held. There's a video above to see this in action. The bottles can also be remotely activated by specially developed VJ software - so, for example, they could be synchronised to a beat in a nightclub. 

All of these functions are controlled by a circuit board, housed on the base of the bottle, which contains 8 LEDs, an 8-bit microprocessor, an accelerometer and a wireless network transceiver to communicate with the outside world. 

The product was developed using Tribal DDB's 'SPARK' methodology, which aims to complete all elements of the production path (i.e. from research and ideation through to prototyping) within 10 weeks. Heineken and Tribal DDB Amsterdam assembled a group of creative teams and independent experts - which included Contagious Insider - to tackle the brief. 

Paul Smailes, global head of digital at Heineken and Sandra Krstic, deputy managing partner at Tribal DDB Amsterdam told Contagious: 'We decided to tackle this project like a startup in order to have a working prototype to test in a real life environment in a very short period of time. This allowed us to accelerate our speed to m arket and benefit from real-life feedback before scaling it to a broader level.'

The prototype was unveiled as part of Heineken's Lounge of the Future concept at Milan Design Week. A Tumblr maps the journey from inception to completion.

Contagious Insight      

This concept immediately reminded us of two highly innovative campaigns from 2012: The Strongbow Gold Cider StartCap built excitement around the bottle by using RFID tags to trigger surprises when the bottle was opened; and Dan Deacon's Live App created a participatory audience environment by becoming part of the light show at his gigs. 

Like these two examples, Heineken Ignite amplifies the nightlife experience for everyone involved - the fact that it lights up when you 'cheers' helps to drive consumption, and the remote activation capabilities allow the brand to heighten any DJ set or live gig, whilst keeping the product at the very centre. This, in turn, will help to create more memorable experiences for people to share over social media, tell their friends, etc. The campaign taps into a wider trend which Contagious has dubbed Amplified Live

There are concerns with this new concept - most notably, how will the brand roll this out to other events and venues in a financially plausible way? But regardless of this, the concept alone holds the potential to redesign our nightlife experience, and will surely have garnered the interest and attention of other global drinks brands. 

This story originally appeared on Contagious Feed. Contagious Feed is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious Feed contact