In the fall of 2013 I took a Packaging 3 class with instructor, Gerardo Herrera, at Art Center College of Design. The emphasis of the class was on interactive packaging. We were given the challenge to pick any product and brand and then think of creative ways to incorporate interactive technologies. This is a hypothetical student project that I created in this class.
I immediately chose to do a project that combined beer and the NFL. These two have such a strong relationship and I saw a lot of possibility in how the bottles could interact with a football game.
What if your beer could interact with an NFL football game? Making for an experience that makes drinking more fun; as well as connecting you more to the game and the people you are watching it with. Bud Light Platinum Game Play is a brand of beer that not only celebrates the NFL but helps you get more into the game. The graphics and colors of each specific line of cans are centered around the team, drawing in the huge market of NFL fans.
I decided to go with Anheuser Busch as the company due to it's familiarity and power in the beer industry. I knew I wanted a subrand of beer that was familiar but more premium so I chose Bud Light Platinum. This beer carries the brand equity of Bud Light but at a more premium level.
One of the reasons that I chose this subject is because I have never really seen anything too exciting or beautiful when it comes to cobranding between sports and beer. I've typically seen small changes to a beer's branding to incorporate the sport, such as just adding the team's logo or changing the beer logo a little bit. For this project I wanted to focus on incorporating more of sports branding into the beer. One example of great cobranding I came across is when Attik Design designed specialty Coca Cola bottles for the 2012 Olympics. This was a big inspiration for me.
When it came to choosing a team to center this project around, I decided to go with the Denver Broncos. It was during week 3 of the NFL schedule that I chose them and at that point I believed they had a strong chance of having a great season and going to the Super Bowl. Considering they finished the season with a 13 win and 3 loss record, I think I picked pretty well. I first did in-depth research on the teams logos, colors, uniforms, history and more to figure out how to design the bottles.
The team spirit of an NFL fan is huge. Often times, they love to be immersed in their team and are attracted to anything that can add to their identity as a fan. The market for NFL fans is very wide. The Harris Poll conducted a survey in October 2012 to see how many Americans follow professional football. The results: 59 percent of Americans follow football in some way.
When it came to designing the graphics for the bottles, I focused on making graphics that would capture the attention of the NFL fan, due to their love and loyalty for their team. The Bud Light Platinum logo is a second read but due to the strength of the brand, I don't think this is an issue.
FINAL BOTTLE DESIGNS
The aluminum bottle's graphics are abstract on their own but when lined up they complete the team logo.
I also created specialty bottles for two of the team's players, Manning and Welker. This idea can be expanded to more players, mascots, cheerleaders, coaches, etc.
Designing the graphics for this project was only half the battle, I also focused on finding different ways that the bottle could interact with the game.
Game Play makes drinking beer an experience that connects you more to the game and the people you are watching with.
A small Bluetooth LE chip in the lid allows for the bottle to be connected and interact with the consumer’s smart phone when it is within a three yard radius. Bottles can be connected to NFL.com, fantasy football, facebook, NFL redzone, their specific team news and more. The consumer chooses which notifications they want to get and the bottle glows as they are received. A user profile on the BL Platinum Game Play app allows for the consumer to easily save and change notification settings as they enjoy each new beer. (The chip is at the bottom for the aluminum cans.)
Thermochromic ink causes the graphics to change color when the beer is at the optimum temperature for drinking, below 46º Fahrenheit or 8º Celsius.
Electroluminescent ink, along with a small battery at the bottom of the can or bottle, causes graphics to light up as they are triggered by the bluetooth technology. Each bottle can allow for 30 minutes of illumination, more than adequate for single beer.
The beer cases are also equipped with electroluminescent ink that is powered by ecoupled technology. The shelving units can charge the ink and cause the graphics to glow. A small Bluetooth LE chip can read when a bluetooth enabled phone is nearby and glow as consumers walk by, catching their attention.
Special retail displays for the beer includes screens that flash information about the beer and supports the team, grasping the attention of the fans and consumers.
After finishing my designs for the Broncos, I decided to explore other NFL teams. I found it fairly easy to switch from team to team because I had a design formula but each team was a challenge based on number of colors, number of logos and other key things. Some of the teams had secodary logos, some didn't. Some had two colors, some had 5. Each team was designed on a bottle to bottle basis.
Broncos (full lineup)
Broncos (core lineup)
San Francisco 49ers
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
San Diego Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs
Green Bay Packers
New York Jets
St. Louis Rams
New York Giants
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
My project ended up being chosen for the Art Center College of Design gallery during the spring of 2014. Here is what the set up for that ended up looking like.
In conclusion, teaming up the NFL and Anheuser -Busch in this way makes for a dynamic duo. There are millions of NFL fans that would be attracted to a bottle that encompasses their team’s identity. There are many ways that a specialty interactive beer bottle can enhance watching football. Making it more dynamic, connected, fun and social.