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Smirnoff Parties With RFID

The vodka company sponsors nightclub events that allow patrons to use RFID-enabled tokens to share their experiences on Facebook, as well as vote for their favorite drinks, DJs or dancers.
By Claire Swedberg
Sep 05, 2012Diageo's Smirnoff division has been promoting its vodka products at a series of parties and events that enable guests to share their activities with friends on Facebook, using an RFID-enabled token. The solution has been utilized at a variety of nightclubs during the past year, as part of the company's Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project and Battle of the Clubs programs, with users updating their pages with comments regarding where they are and what they are doing, along with pictures of themselves and friends partying at a particular club.

The solution, provided by Fish Technology, was managed by Blondefish, a London-based RFID and social-media firm that helps brands promote and organize events via the use of RFID tags and readers, as well as social links and digital media. Blondefish provides multiple solutions for Smirnoff, and also subcontracts with various other RFID solutions providers to install and integrate the technology at various nightclubs.

Smirnoff Battle of the Clubs participants can place their RFID token near the reader on the staff member's tablet to vote for the drinks they prefer.

One such company is Vision ID, an Irish RFID solutions provider. Throughout the past year, a complete RFID-based system was installed for a single night at a series of eight nightclubs located throughout Ireland. These included Krystle, in Dublin; the Sense Night Club, in Northern Ireland; and Havana Browns, in Cork.

The Smirnoff Battle of the Clubs program began with a Facebook application that encouraged users to vote for their favorite club, with the winners hosting a Smirnoff party including music, drinks and pictures. It was offered not only in Ireland, but also in Germany and Belgium. The Belgian program is still ongoing, while the promotions in Ireland and Germany concluded this summer.

Blondefish's Laura Moody
At each Irish event, Smirnoff provided the club with funding to host a party, including paying for drinks and either a disc jockey, a series of DJs or live music. Upon arriving, each guest met with a club employee, who carried a tablet computer and an HID Global Omnikey 5321 or 6321 high-frequency (HF) RFID reader plugged into a USB port on the top of the tablet. The guests were invited to share their experiences on Facebook, says Laura Moody, Blondefish's managing director, and the majority accepted the invitation. Each participant received a small plastic card or token with a built-in 13.56 MHz passive HF RFID tag (Fish Technology reports that it utilizes tags made by a variety of vendors). A staff member read the tag's ID number using the HID Global reader, after which Fish Technology software on the device linked that ID with the Facebook name and password provided by that guest. That information was then transmitted via a Wi-Fi connection to Fish Technology software residing on its own server. There, the data was forwarded to Facebook, and an update appeared on the individual's Facebook page, indicating that he or she had just arrived at the specific club for the Smirnoff party.

Each party was based on the theme of another part of the world where clubs also participated in a variety of Smirnoff promotional events; as such, Smirnoff-based drinks were provided to guests, using a theme related to that location, such as Jamaica. A guest could place his or her RFID token near the reader on the worker's tablet, and then use the tablet's touchscreen to vote for the drink that person preferred, which would also be posted on his or her Facebook page.

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