The brewer’s ‘Frontier’ initiative challenges business from all industries to submit solutions to four briefs ranging from making drinking in moderation cool to improving the drinking experience in bars. The winning ideas for each brief will receive a minimum of €50,000 to help pilot their ideas next year.
The brewer will offer the chosen candidates funding and mentorship throughout the program with a view to eventually taking them to market. It is hoped the scheme can uncover ideas that match its interactive smart beer bottle and Twitter concierge service @wherenext in helping to push the brand into new drinking occasions.
Heineken’s launch bares similarities to the accelerator programs of AB InBev, Nike and John Lewis. Unlike those efforts, the brewer says it is not just targeting start ups and will look to partner with technology companies at all ends of the innovation ecosystem”.
The company hinted a bigger technological play was on the cards earlier this summer when it said it would spend more on developing utility-based services. Mobile is key to the effort with a significant portion of its the ‘tested and evaluated’ marketing outlay being committed to the channel. It is the connected space where Heineken says it is planning to scale up in order to exploit the “Internet of Things” trend.