The Story of NFC – How Near-Field Communication Technology is Changing Alcohol Marketing – Focus

just-drinks – March 27, 2018


In 2014, Diageo, the world’s biggest multi-category spirits producer, sent out a call to the world’s growing pool of start-up tech companies. The Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff owner was offering a US$100,000 prize for disruptive innovations that could, as Diageo said at the time, solve no less than “our biggest business challenges”.

One of the firms that answered was Thin Film Electronics, a Norwegian company with fresh ideas on a mobile wireless technology that had recently been adopted by Apple as the basis of its new contactless payment system, Apple Pay. The technology was near-field communications, or NFC, and Thin Film’s entry to the Diageo competition would help usher in a new approach to consumer marketing.

Six months later, at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, Thin Film and Diageo unveiled the fruits of their collaboration. Dubbed the ‘smart bottle’ and dressed in the livery of Diageo’s US$180 Johnnie Walker Blue Label brand, the concept comprised a 70cl glass package that hid an NFC sensor in its neck collar. The tag, which could connect using NFC with other electronic devices, was ostensibly supposed to help combat counterfeiting by detecting whether it had been opened.

Read the full article here.