Talking Cans

Jamie Popp
Managing Editor

From putting music CDs in the lid of a drink container to creating games and giving away prizes for consuming beverages, beverage marketers are full of creative ways to attract attention to packaging — and get people to drink more product. I have to admit that I am one of those consumers who will stock up on soft drinks, sports drinks, water, or any other beverage to increase my chances of winning a big prize. I’m convinced that it’s the thrill of winning something by doing practically nothing that is really enticing about these promotions.
So I was excited to see the new Coca-Cola promotion that was just announced that involves high-tech tracking cans. Here’s how it works: reportedly 120 grand prize cans containing a GPS chip and antenna, a Subscriber Identity Module card and a keypad panel are hidden inside Coke multipacks. The cans do not contain any liquid but are designed to look and weigh the same as a full can of Coke. Winners who find the can call a hotline, and the Coke GPS tracks down the lucky consumer, delivering prizes anytime to any location where the winner might be during a three-week period. The most interesting thing about the cans is that with the technology, they can act as a cell phone, speaker or microphone. I remember a time when Coca-Cola phones, the ones that plugged into the wall, were introduced. Whether we see more beverage-inspired cell phones hitting the market after this promotion or not, I guarantee you that prize-hunting consumers will devour this new game in which the winner will also walk away with a pretty cool souvenir.
Arbor Day promotion
Canandaigua donated a portion of every purchase of Arbor Mist made last month to the National Arbor Day Foundation to help plant seedlings throughout Arizona forests. As part of its commitment to Arbor Day, Arbor Mist and Arbor Mist Wine Blenders packaging also featured neck hangers with Blue Spruce tree seedlings attached, encouraging patrons to plant trees in support of Arbor Day.

Motocross Iinspiration

Travis Pastrana, of motocross fame, has inspired SoBe Beverages to design a new label for Liz Fuel, the new name for Lizard Fuel, the company’s strawberry-flavored drink. The design features the SoBe Lizard riding a motorcycle, executing a “nac-nac” freestyle motocross trick and wearing Travis Pastrana’s number (199) on his back and on the motorcycle.

Liquid gold
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City recently released the most expensive and exclusive single-malt Scotch whisky vintage collection — The Macallan Fine & Rare Vintage Collection of 38 bottles valued at $170,000. The malts, dating from 1926 to 1973, are being served by the glass for $50 to $3,500 at the hotel’s restaurant, Old Homestead.

Midori Search
Allied Domecq’s Midori brand is on the prowl for its American “It Girl” spokesperson. The Midori mobile studio offers a professional make-up artist and photo studio where legal drinking age females are transformed into "It Girls," giving them a model makeover and a photo shoot as part of the "It Girl" search.

Gorilla Support
Thanksgiving Coffee Co. is making a difference in the Rwandan economy and the endangered mountain gorilla population. In an exclusive licensing agreement with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI), the company will donate as much as 20 percent of the retail sale price from its new fair trade certified Gorilla Fund Coffee to the DFGFI. The money will provide healthcare, technical training and further enhance mountain gorilla protection in communities near mountain gorilla habitats.

Comfort Tour
The Southern Comfort Cocktail Tour will be kicking off its second annual "Tales of the Cocktail" event in August. The two-day event celebrates the history and culture of dining and drinking in New Orleans. The event will feature dinner pairings, book signings, culinary demonstrations, a cocktail clinic, industry seminars, entertainment and celebrity bartenders.

Tang Premiere
Thai chef Tommy Tang recently celebrated his new public television series premiere with sponsor Singha beer. The series, "Tommy Tang's Let's Get Cooking," aired nationally on all American Public Television stations in April.