Message in a bottle
Heineken launches its latest creative innovation: FOBO or forwardable bottle
Heineken has come up with a clever idea to promote the sustainable deposits-on-bottles principle by creating a returnable bottle. This bottle becomes more attractive each time it’s reused. The rubbing on the embossing turns it a whitish colour and makes it more conspicuous on the bottle. Each bottle is given a date and a unique code to reinforce this idea. Beer drinkers can use this unique code to post messages on the Internet and read all the previous messages left by other consumers. It’s a modern ‘message in a bottle’.
This bottle’s unusual shape was inspired on an early circle of economy thought by Freddy Heineken. When visiting the Netherlands Antilles, he discovered that most of the refuse on the coast was made up of his bottles. So he invented a stackable bottle that could be used to build houses. The World Bottle was not actually launched on the market, but Freddy’s original idea has been revived in the FOBO.
“As far as I’m concerned, design is ultimately the most important feature in a proposition. Design is always the essence of what you sell to consumers.”
Mark van Iterson, Director Global Heineken Design
As in previous projects, this bottle was created in close cooperation between Heineken and VBAT Branding and Design. We are in such close contact that it almost seems like we are colleagues. Heineken sets very high standards, and it considers design to be a real people business while giving priority to long-term collaboration. At Heineken, the focus is on ‘their’ projects but they are always open to new and exciting ideas and suggestions.
The FOBO has already been launched in France and it is a huge success, with sales in 1600 pubs after only one month. And it really is sustainable too: in France, the FOBO has made a 78% difference in the carbon footprint compared to a non-returnable bottle.