Spanish winemaker Barbadillo launches NFC-enabled smart bottles

internetofbusiness – July 31, 2017

Spanish winemaker Barbadillo is selling 126,000 smart bottles of its Castillo de San Diego wine, in what is claimed to be the largest global deployment of NFC [near-field communication] technology to date in the wine and spirits industry.

As part of a marketing campaign aimed at helping the almost 200-year old company to better connect with consumers, gather data, award cash prizes and drive sales, Barbadillo is making use of SpeedTap tags from NFC specialist Thinfilm.

These thin, flexible labels supposedly integrate with a product’s packaging or label and can be read instantly, without the need for a dedicated app, with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone. Alongside Thinfilm, Barbadillo has developed a customized NFC-enabled neck collar for its white wine, described as “harmonious, fruity, floral and light.”

Hitting the target

Using their smartphones, consumers are instructed to tap bottles of Castillo de San Diego to learn more about the company promotion, which offers them the chance to win one of 12 prized of €1,000.

Upon purchasing and opening a bottle, customers can apparently retrieve a unique code printed on the cork and enter it in the field displayed on their smartphone – along with their name and other personal information – to instantly determine if they are a winner.

The campaign is named ‘Dando en el Blanco’ (in English, ‘Hitting the Target’). To make it happen, the connected bottles are being sold through 15 major supermarket chains and superstores in Spain, including El Corte Inglés, Carrefour, Hipercor, Alcampo, and Eroski.

Thinfilm CEO Davor Sutij claims that the ‘Dando en el Blanco’ campaign, “illustrates a compelling use case for NFC mobile marketing – not just in the wine and spirits industry, but with other consumer products as well.”

Age of internet-connected alcohol

The campaign is not the first time that Barbadillo has incorporated NFC technology into its products. In February last year, the winemaker launched its Versos 1891 ultra-premium sherry in bottles fitted with Thinfilm’s OpenSense tags. The company says that the tags combined with Thinfilm’s Authenticator App to authenticate products and therefore prevent fraudsters from producing counterfeits or taking unauthorized refills.

Similar campaigns have also taken place in recent years, with flavoured rum brand Malibu pushing roughly 40,000 connected bottles into 1,600 Tesco supermarket stores in the UK between September and December 2016. Malibu, owned by Pernod Ricard, has also trialed a connected cup, which supposedly alerts bar staff to an empty drink as soon as a customer has finished. Staff can then bring a fresh drink out, meaning the customer can avoid the dreaded wait for service at the bar. Handy, but the technology won’t be widely available until later this year, it seems.