Alistair Beattie of DDB & Tribal Amsterdam delivers a memorable Heineken experience by unlocking the power and possibilities of mobile innovation and technology.


Issue 19: Ignite Innovation

Alistair Beattie has been described as a visionary strategic leader with infectious enthusiasm and colossal glasses. Joe 90 for the digital age. He joined DDB in 2010 as European Head of Strategy and Innovation. He focuses on technology, brand planning and communications planning. He works with the networks leading clients including Volkswagen, Heineken and McDonalds. He is also a consultant for the local offices throughout the region.

Alistair’s love affair with brands and their consumers started 20 years ago. He has experience in traditional and digital agencies including AKQA, AMV BBDO, LBi, and W+K. He currently lives in Amsterdam and enjoys messing around in boats.

It creates opportunity, challenges convention and liberates creativity. It’s the lifeblood of business growth and brand building. Innovation is at the heart of everything we do as an agency.

History is littered with good intentions that never happened. If you’ve ever been to an “Innovation Session” when the ideas were flowing but nothing got made then you’ll know the problem. Innovation is about doing, not talking.

At DDB & Tribal Amsterdam we’ve created a process called “SPARK.” A boot-camp for creating product and service ideas. We ask our clients for a business problem and in return we deliver a solution in in just 30 days. Not just ideas…we deliver a working prototype.

How does it work?

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Heineken has a rich history of innovation when it comes to their bottle design. They turn the ordinary bottle into a creative item by introducing new bottle shapes, materials and printing technique.

It’s that creative spark that I’m so jealous of for our agency and that I’m so desperately fearful of losing. I don’t want academicians. I don’t want scientists. I don’t want people who do the right things. I want people who do inspiring things.

Bill Bernbach

The product went from concept to launch in just 10 weeks. We used rapid prototyping, 3D printing, Arduino and custom software development to move through a number of quick iteration cycles to a final prototype.

The first 3 day workshop was held end of February in Amsterdam where the Global Heineken Digital team and DDB & Tribal Amsterdam built a multidisciplinary creative team partnering with Massive Music, Contagious, the Global Heineken Design team and independent experts from a wide range of industries. Over the 3 days the team went from a TED like inspiration workshop on day 1, to ideation and refinement of ideas during day 2 and 3.  A total of 3 fully fledged briefings were chosen, one of which got the go-ahead for prototype development.

The housing under the bottle gives room to a custom designed circuit board based around the open source Arduino hard- and software platform. It features eight bright LEDs, an efficient eight-bit microprocessor, an accelerometer to detect various motion types and a wireless network transceiver to communicate with the outside world. The 3D printed housing (designed and developed by C10) is built up of two parts, allowing to re-use the unit on multiple bottles of beer.