The marketing and advertising industry has always been quick to exploit new technologies, to find new ways to promote clients’ wares to the public. So it should come as no surprise that the rise of IoT has spawned an “agency of things” that promises to “connect to your customers using the Internet of Things.”
London based agency of things SharpEnd promises to create a new communication channel with end-users by “using ‘active and intelligent’ packaging solutions to digitise consumer products at scale,” to “weave technology into the real world to create richer experiences of physical spaces,” and to “design and build new products and services that are only made possible by embedding sensors and connectivity into physical objects.”
One of SharpEnd’s clients is the makers of Absolut Vodka, which, according to this report is “looking at connecting those bottles as one potential way to better serve its customers by leveraging location data, which could provide more tailored and relevant information or services.”
The report quotes SharpEnd founder, Cameron Worth, saying: “The connected bottle is a holistic channel once it links to Web-based content. It turns a product into a media asset and the bottle is now interactive.”
So much for having a quiet tipple: you will be one end of a holistic channel between you and the bottler, linking to web-based content and participating in some kind of interaction.
This seems like a bit of nightmare scenario, but we foreshadowed it all back in March when we reported on a report from research firm, Altimeter Customer Experience in the Internet of Things: Five Ways Brands Can Use Sensors to Build Better Customer Relationships.
Clearly is not going to stop at vodka. The marketeers will aim to intrude ever further into our personal lives by IoT enabling every product imaginable, and it’s already started.
Marketing Magazine UK reports “L’Oreal is exploring the idea of smart make-up … that could allow [it] to give connectivity to dumb objects like lipstick or mascara, giving it a new way to track customers.”
Putting on make-up is very personal activity, but intruding into customers’ personal lives is what appeals to L’Oreal. The company’s head of digital and media for Australia and New Zealand, Christophe Emery, is quoted saying. “There is a lot of development happening internally. There is definitely a big focus. These products, for most consumers, are in their bags every day and are almost as personal as their mobile device.”
Actually I would suggest that, like one’s drinking habits lipstick and mascara are rather more personal.
And while there are clearly many ways in which IoT can enhance many products and services there’s really not much it can add to a bottle of vodka – except a lot of unrelated, and hopefully useful services that can engender customer loyalty.
As the writer of this blog post How the Internet of Things Will Transform High-Tech Marketing says: “Consumers respond far more favourably to products which offer appealing personalities, as evidenced by the vast numbers of products which already have been linked in commercials and advertising to adorable kittens and talking coffee machines. All this promotes loyalty and commitment to a specific brand name, and this is precisely the kind of desirable effect marketers are always trying to achieve. In the future, this trend will be emphasized and developed further to encourage even tighter linkage between consumer and seller.”
In the future no product, not even something as seemingly uncomplicated as a bottle of grog, will be one dimensional: it will become just one component of some kind of ‘holistic’, ‘interactive’ experience.’ It’s enough to drive you to drink.