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Diageo harnesses mobile technology with new 'smart' whisky bottle

Published:  27 February, 2015

Diageo is launching a 'smart bottle' that will enable it to send personalised marketing message to its consumers after purchase.

The prototype Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle, which is being unveiled in Barcelona in March, uses printed sensor tags which can be synced through radio near field communication (NFC) to a smartphone. The consumer will be able to read messages from Diageo on their phone when the bottle is touching it or in close proximity.

The tags, which were developed by US electronics firm Thinkfilm, will also allow Diageo to track bottle movements through the supply chain to the point of consumption.

Helen Michels, global innovation director, futures team at Diageo, said the cutting edge technology would enrich the consumer experience of its brands. "Mobile technology is changing the way we live, and as a consumer brands company we want to embrace its power to deliver amazing new consumer experiences in the future," she said. "It sets the bar for technology innovation in the drinks industry."

The drinks giant says the tags, which are permanently encoded at the point of manufacture and cannot be copied or electrically modified, remain readable even after the factory seal has been broken. By tapping the bottle with the phone, retailers and consumers could prove the bottle was authentic.

The move is the first project from Diageo Technology Ventures, an iniative established last September to unlock new opportunities for future growth by working with emerging technology companies. It says the prototype bottle illustrates the new possibilities for packaging.