UK's Strongbow pops its top with a digital bottle cap

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Strongbow's Startcaps can trigger actions like activate a jukebox when a bottle is opened
Strongbow's Startcaps can trigger actions like activate a jukebox when a bottle is opened

The Offer: Soon, popping the top off a bottle of Strongbow Gold might be an interactive experience. The Heineken-owned hard cider brand clinked glasses with social and digital agency Work Club to create an engaging prototype: the Strongbow StartCap. The brand is claiming it to be the first digital bottle cap. At experimental installations in Budapest and Rome, Work Club inserted RFID technology (radio-frequency identification) into some of its bottle caps, essentially creating a remote-controlled bar. When opened, each Strongbow StartCap triggered a different action at the pub, such as activating a jukebox and prompting a mini cannon to fire gold glitter on the crowd.

The Data: The StartCap is made of aluminum, transparent paper, and RFID tags. In the back end, the tags connect to an antenna to read a radio signal that ultimately communicates with a computer to produce a specific physical action.

The Channel: While Strongbow's digital initiative is still in the beta phase, the brand is using it to spread buzz at live global events, via viral videos, and on Facebook. Strongbow is documenting its progress via a dedicated StartCap blog at start-cap.com.

The Creative: The cap is also socially integrated—popping the RFID bottle top can even automatically check a user into Foursquare.

Customer View: In response to a general callout asking, “What would you start with a StartCap?” Strongbow Facebook fans responded with a variety of suggestions, including: “I would use it for charity purposes. Every opened bottle would send a #thankyou tag on Facebook and unlock a donation for those who need it.”

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