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Bacardi rum has partnered with global glass bottle manufacturer O-I on a new limited-edition bottle that uses a Snapchat code plus digitally printed decoration to create an immersive brand experience.

The brand’s Caribbean spirit is the heart of the promotion, starting with the bottle’s graphic design. On the shelf, the bottle is decorated with a 360°, full colour print of palm leaves and tropical flowers. Through the selective application of design elements in O-I : EXPRESSIONS RELIEF, a tactile effect was added to the Bacardi bat motif and the brand name along with selected leaves and flowers.

An innovative augmented reality (AR) experience and a Snapchat lens can be unlocked via the Snapcode on the bottle. This is a first for the brand with the exclusive Snapcode featuring on the Carta Blanca rum bottle launching in eight markets in 2020.

O-I argues that replacing the sleeve with direct-to-bottle digital printing, using organic inks, improves the environmental footprint of the product, and reduces its use of plastic.

The limited-edition launched on July 1 in Austria, Italy, and Denmark. A second wave for Germany, Ireland, Croatia, Romania, and Slovakia follows in autumn with the aim of capitalising on the vital pre-Christmas sales period.

Simone Kockelmann, customer marketing manager at Bacardi Europe says: “Consumers are looking for personalised brand experiences. The digitally printed bottle, together with our AR experience and the Snapchat lens, transport the user to the homeland of Bacardi, the shores of the Caribbean. We previously used sleeves for our limited edition bottles, but O-I : EXPRESSIONS gives a much-improved look and feel to the packaging and is a more sustainable alternative.”

Speaking on the challenges of developing AR and scannable codes, Kockelmann comments: "We are launching the bottle in 8 European markets and were able to create one single bottle print design for all markets, which was a bit of a challenge given the different legal needs in all markets. This enables us to be more efficient in the production, starting from the bottle production and decoration at O-I EXPRESSIONS, up to the final bottling.

"The AR was developed with our partners at UNIT9. The combination of Augmented Reality and a Snaplens with personalized experience – which is both unlocked when scanning the Snapcode on the bottle – took us a few months. And we're very happy with the result."

Melianthe Leeman, global innovation leader for O-I says, “O-I : EXPRESSIONS has been enthusiastically embraced by the wine industry and we were confident that it was an equally desirable solution for spirits brands. The BacardÍ rum limited edition is a great demonstration of how limited editions are increasingly important in maintaining brand relevance with consumers.

"We are working with the brand and several other spirits producers on a range of projects which will further demonstrate the appeal of our late-stage differentiation and customization services.”