— THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE

Heineken Ignite: The Bottle Gets Smart.

Milan Design Week is traditionally full of interesting and fascinating collaboration’s and experiments. My own experience of this was back in 2002. While still at Central Saint Martins, I got to experience ‘Grand Hotel Salone’, a hotel concept pairing famous architects’ with cities to re-imagine the future of the hotel experience. It was pretty full on; a lavish affair all round.

In 2013, as with everywhere else, digital creativity and innovation is at the heart of some of the experiments that help fuel the fair. Heineken, while not noted as a designer of furniture, launched a rather fascinating interactive concept for the future of the humble bottle.

In collaboration with Tribal DDB, they have launched ‘Ignite’. While not world’s first interactive bottle, (See Work Club x Strongbow’s RFID controlled bottle) Heineken’s version uses micro sensors and wireless networking technology to sense motion and lights up in response to sound and vision accordingly, or cued to respond to specific songs, or visual stimuli.

There’s a few things that pique my interest around this project. Firstly, I love the insights behind Ignite. How it takes possibly the most mundane experience of being in a bar or club, the (holding of) a bottle of beer and imbues it with energy and life that is in perfect sync with the club. It has the potential to turn the dormant bottle strewn in the corners of clubs into equally compelling spaces to interact with the music. It’s smart from Heineken’s perspective as if it works, the value of having the brand in your club rises exponentially.

I love how it stays true to one of the most relevant ideas knocking around the marketing-sphere at the moment. I’ve been particularly taken with a line that Russell Davies of the GDS (That’s Government Digital Service to you non-Brits) used when describing how the collective team arrived at some of their decisions for gov.uk (the recent UK ‘Design Of The Year’)

“The product is the service is the marketing”

The holistic relationship between these elements has not been summed up better IMHO. It’s so blazingly obvious, yet frustratingly and frequently elusive. It’s a line that opens up ample opportunities for new thinking around creating valuable experiences for Brands. It puts the infinite bandwidth of digital creativity right at it’s center. While I’m sure the mobile and innovation units at Tribal DDB (there’s a great blogpost on their process here) did not necessarily have this line in mind when they were concepting the idea, it’s sentiment lies at the heart of what makes this a great project. Yes, it’s an experiment, and an expensive one at that. But  you would like to think that even if just a sliver of of Heineken’s marketing budget was directed away from fatous endeavours like this (sorry W+K AMS) to developing and rolling out this idea en masse then many more people would be compelled to ‘Open Your World’ than currently do.

It’s worth thinking about.

(P.S. Let’s not talk about the awful Brostep soundtrack in the video above…)

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