Heineken’s Ideas Brewery

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Why spend money with research, marketing and design agencies, when you can obtain the consumer trends and the related brainwaves and innovative ideas for free. It’s called creative crowdsourcing, and many a large consumer goods company is walking along this road. (Read also my article: “Unilever’s Online Open Innovation Platform”.

Crowdsourcing is defined as the process of posting a problem online, having a vast number of individuals offering solutions to the problem, awarding the winning ideas with some form of a bounty [often meagre], and using this input for innovation, marketing or communication (Brabham, 2013).

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Last year, Heineken announced that it was going to do more to attract older consumers to its brand, primarily targeting men aged 60-70 who make up a large number of people all of whom still like to celebrate with a drink or two.
Heineken invited consumers to come forward with their ideas and present them to the Heineken Ideas Brewery website with the possibility that their idea could earn them a share of a USD 10,000 prize pot. The ideas had to fall into three main categories – ‘quality experiences’, ‘learning and re-discovery’ and ‘more time for social activities’.

This month Heineken published the submissions on its website, from which I selected some with relation to packaging.
I will show “Turn bottle”  by George Zervakis, “The Bottle Mug” by Florian Kegel and “Easy Star Bottle” by Nathan Gabriele.

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Different generations might prefer the same beer when it comes to its taste, but they certainly don’t like the same drinking experience. In the view of the old generation “Only babies drink out of a bottle.” The generation 60+ grew up with style and quality. In their youth partying meant mostly coming together with friends at home or in a pub. Gatherings where everybody sat together discussing the world at large and enjoying a beer out of a glass. The generation 18+ are visiting music festivals, concerts and raves. For them it is important to stay mobile and being able to drink their beer wherever they are. They will always prefer to drink straight out of the bottle or the can, while their fathers will want a nice glass.
Two submissions to the IdeasBrewery solve that problem which stands between the generations.

First the “Turn bottle” by George Zervakis from Greece, who describes his innovation as follows:
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In your 30s, you’re fast and thirsty. Sometimes you don’t even need water. Beer does the job. When you’re 60, things are different. Not so much in a hurry, but eager to enjoy. “Quality over quantity”, as they say. Heineken’s ”Turn” offers you exactly that, making beer drinking a unique new experience. Its shape gives you the familiar feeling of Heineken beer, but soon you realize that it’s nothing like you’ve seen before. Looks like a bottle but is actually a glass.

130721-by George Zervakis W540 100dpiTurn it upside down, use the cap as the glasses base and enjoy beer on a whole new level. Elegant as it is, it’s also practical, and can be carried, as every other beer bottle, in a crate. ”Turn” aims at all those active 60+ people, who want this extra quality in simple everyday things.

Note: I must say that this design is not a new one. Scott Clark and his business partner Vincent Allora invented and patented the Flip Bottle about 10 years ago. Although the examples for Flip Bottles were developed for wine, it is obvious that the patented innovation can be used for beer as well. If you want to know more about the original Flip Bottle, read in Packaging Digest: “The Flip Bottle: A tale of a patented packaging concept”.

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Flip Bottle invented and patented by Scott Clark and Vincent Allora

In the meantime we take a look at a more interesting innovation.

“The Bottle Mug” by Florian Kegel from Austria.
To justify his design Florian Kegel goes on (what I like to call) the Coca Cola tour. I wrote in one of my previous articles that “Coca-Cola for years, advertised the message that the company did not sell soft drinks only, but through the drinks, encouraged customers to share happiness”. And that fits in, of course, with the Heineken requirement: “more time for social activities”.
And so Florian argues that the age group 60+ feels the need to stay relevant; relevant to their loved ones, especially their children. They want to share their memories with them. They want to stay connected with their kids and teach them how to not repeat their mistakes. And what better way to get in touch with someone than by sitting down and sharing a beer?

130721-by Florian Kegel01 W540 100dpiBut, argues Florian, fathers certainly don’t like the same serving experience. The old generation doesn’t drink straight out of a bottle or a can, they want a proper glass to drink from. And thus the “Bottle Mug” was borne. The “bottle mug” is made out of glass. It is a smaller, slightly thicker beer bottle with a crown cap. The catch is that it can be unscrewed in the middle. By being filled slightly lower than usual beer bottles, it creates the perfect froth.

Openability and reclosability always is for the older generation a challenge. Nathan Gabriele submitted a possible answer.

“Easy Star Bottle” by Nathan Gabriele from the USA
This design is one of the six that made Heineken’s shortlist. Let’s have a look at Nathan description of his solution.
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The Easy Star Bottle is designed for the 60-70+ year old generations. As we age, our dexterity becomes limited, our focus shifts from quantity to quality, and the desire to share our experiences becomes stronger. The new Easy Star Bottle aims to fulfil these changes while at the same time enhancing the quality of enjoying a Heineken.
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The foil covered neck-length twist cap enables those developing arthritis to easily twist open and enjoy their favourite Dutch lager without the indignity of breaking finger nails or damaging skin. No opener required means that sharing those special moments can happen wherever your new adventures take you. The larger 65 cl volume provides plenty of griping surface and encourages sharing. But if you don’t finish it all, the Easy Star Bottle has been designed with threads at the base of the neck to reseal and save for later.

These were the three submissions related to packaging that I selected. Note that only one (Easy Star Bottle) made the Heineken shortlist. Apparently the other two didn’t appeal to the Heineken people. A pity really, as both were excellent designs for on-the-go, an activity very popular with the older generation.

2 responses to “Heineken’s Ideas Brewery

  1. Loving these innovations, especially the FlipBottle / BottleGlass concept. True what you say about the crowdsourcing phenomenon, getting great ideas for little outlay… the thing is, the platform and the arena for people to share has to be right – as does the love for the brand that will inspire constructive ideas for innovation and development.


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