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Message in a bottle - Beck’s

Considering that premium beer consumers have many choices when it comes choosing what to drink, it is not uncommon that they experiment with different brands. This ‘lack of loyalty’ compared to consumers of core beers is what Beck’s Croatia wanted to address. The demographic that Beck’s beer is targeting are young 18 to 24 year olds that live in urban settings, people who have an active social life, who are connected with their friends - offline and online and who are fans of music, art and technology.

Getting more from a bottle of beer

We were considering how to provide the consumers with additional value and entertainment when they choose Beck’s over other brands. The idea needed to address the interests of the target demographic, and provide a slightly different experience every time, so that whatever we came up with had a certain ‘replay value’. We did not want the concept to be a simple gimmick that will lose its appeal once you have experienced it the first time.

Considering the demographic, it was easy to conclude that a smartphone is something that can be guaranteed to be in a pocket or purse of almost anyone we were going to address, so a smartphone app was chosen as a platform, but what to do with it was the main question.

Becks poruka u boci iphone mockup

Rewarding beer fans for choosing Beck’s over others

Since the goal here was to reward actual consumers of Beck’s beer, the app had to rely somehow on the actual Beck’s beer bottle, to ensure that only those who opt for Beck’s can benefit from the app. Beck’s marketing strategy is to focus on and foster independent thinkers and creators, so among all that we already mentioned, the app had to enable the consumers to express themselves, rather than just receive predefined content.


A virtual message in a real bottle?

We wanted to encourage not only consummation of the product but also provide a sense of belonging to a ‘selected’ community that shares similar values. What we came up with is a smartphone app that relies on Augmented Reality to communicate with consumers.

The Android and iPhone app was named Message in a bottle because it is exactly what it enabled the users to do - send a message to an unknown location using a Beck’s bottle.

Here is how it worked… The consumer would start the app and point the phone camera towards the bottle, the app would recognise the Becks bottle and label and then overlay the view with a virtual 3D envelope that seemed to pop out of the bottle. This envelope contained a message that someone previously entered. Upon reading the message, the app user had an option to enter his own message and put it in the bottle and release it into the ‘virtual sea’.

Beck's Message in a Bottle App in Use 1
Beck's Message in a Bottle App in Use 2
Beck's Message in a Bottle App in Use 3
Beck's Message in a Bottle App in Use 4
Beck's Message in a bottle app in use 5

Beck's Message in a Bottle App in Use

Some things we left to chance, but one thing was guaranteed...

Whoever received the message was also notified of the location from which the message was sent, but had no guarantee of where his own message would end up, or who would read it or when. There was one thing that both the sender and the recipient could know to have in common, and this was guaranteed - they were both fans of Beck’s beer, as only with a bottle of Beck’s in your hand could you send and receive these messages. Knowing this one simple fact, and keeping the other details hidden, a semi-mysterious virtual network of Beck’s fans was soon created.


Keeping track of all the messages

To shed some light on where, and how fast these messages were being sent and received, we displayed a map of Croatia on the official Beck’s website that showed all the locations on which this innovative interaction occurred. Website visitors could browse through the latest messages and see where they were sent from, where were they received and what was in them. We deliberately limited this to only a handful of messages since we wanted the mistery effect to remain, and to limit the functionality only to those who are actually having a Beck’s at the time.


Creativity truly is engaging and unpredictable

Even though this was a single purpose, branded, smartphone app that was published with virtually no marketing support, in a country with relatively low smartphone penetration, it generated interesting results. During the first 30 days, over 2.000 people sent around 3.000 messages that consisted of hellos, questions, advice and jokes.

Even though the campaign had no connection with the brand’s Facebook page, the number of people that were “Talking about” the brand on this social network rose by 40%.

The fact that within days from release, a message was sent through the app in average every 12 minutes, helped the jury of the biggest DIgital marketing festival in Croatia (Days of communication) award this app as the best in the Country.