If you think social networking means hooking up with new friends on social media websites or working the room at a party or conference, think again. Two beer manufacturers are at the forefront of new technology which makes sharing comments on Facebook seem dull and uninspiring; these companies aim to make to social networking face-to-face a more fun and interesting experience.
Budweiser Brazil has recently introduced ‘Buddy Cups’ which enable people to connect on Facebook just by toasting one another. When the cups touch, the microchips at the bottom of the cups connect and the two drinkers become friends on Facebook.
All the user has to do is activate the cup and link it to their Facebook profile by scanning the bottom of the cup via a smartphone app. When the drinkers toast one another, the cup lights up – and hey presto – another new friend is made on Facebook.
The long term plan and roll out of Buddy Cups to new markets has not yet been defined but this technology is definitely a great way to break the ice and make new Facebook friends. However as with all these great ideas a word of caution is in order. Drinking Budweiser may loosen inhibitions and encourage the drinker to toast everyone they meet, regardless of whether they would have chosen them as a Facebook friend under other circumstances. And who would you trust to watch your Buddy Cup when you go off to dance or powder your nose? Would other drinkers be tempted to clink your cup if it was left alone for a while?
The Budweiser Buddy Cup may be fun, but I foresee many people waking up the following day with a sore head and new friends on Facebook whom they have no recollection of ever meeting in person!
Perhaps a safer option for having fun on a night out but not giving too much of yourself away to total strangers is the Heineken Ignite beer bottle which is aimed at clubbers. This ever so smart, futuristic beer bottle lights up in response to sound and motion. It contains micro-sensors and wireless networking technology and when someone drinks from it, the LED light spins; when a crowd cheers, it sparks; when left alone it has a little snooze unless it has been programmed to be activated by the club music.
All terribly clever stuff. The Heineken Ignite beer bottle was launched at 2013 Design Week in Milan at the beginning of April and was collaboration between the beer manufacturer, Tribal DDB Amsterdam and several other partners. Tests are still underway to determine if this prototype should be introduced into the market place.
But it’s fair to say that Heineken definitely achieved their objective of creating a memorable Heineken experience using mobile innovation and technology.