Imagine a future when smart connected packaging interacts with consumers and shoppers to create brand experiences that build equity and serve as the foundation for
integrated marketing campaigns.
Under the leadership of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Global Director of Innovation
Keenan Thompson and Budweiser’s Global Director Chris Perkins, we got a glimpse of this future with the Budweiser Light Up Cups at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
To deliver this innovation at scale, ABI took advantage of the unique capabilities of its Global Innovation Technology Center (GITEC), an internal group tasked with developing technology platforms that elevate ABI brands and change the beverage industry as a whole.
As Thompson put it, “Packaging innovation is an extremely powerful marketing tool, but also one of the more difficult tools to leverage due to associated timelines and investments. To make it happen, you have to understand the perspectives and ambitions of all different stakeholders in the value chain. Our role is to do just that: then invent solutions that have a good balance of desirability, feasibility and viability, basically adding value to everyone in the chain and make the investment impactful over time.”
Thompson and the team at GITEC recognized early on, that smart connected packaging was an exciting space. From creating amazing consumer experiences to helping with inventory management, it has the capability to reshape the beer industry and better meet the needs of consumers, shoppers and retailers. So, starting three years ago, Thompson (who has a unique background in both engineering and marketing) did the legwork to understand the technology landscape, and what it would take to implement solutions at scale. From there, all he needed was a buyer within ABI. As luck would have it, around the same time Perkins was looking for ways to bring to life the spirit of Budweiser at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. “The World Cup represents four euphoric weeks of freedom,” he said: “Budweiser’s job is to amplify the euphoric energy the fans feel. That’s what we wanted to activate around.”