by Tom Jennings
June 23, 2017

When talking about the future of payment, let’s not forget to take a look at extraordinary, creative and playful examples of how contactless payment can be used.

Recently, commuters of London’s Underground rubbed their eyes and took a second look. NFC-enabled, contactless cards used to tap and pay for rides at the entrance are perfectly normal, but something strange was happening: some people were paying with the bottles of their energy drink. How was that possible?

Behind this phenomenon are some creative thinkers, an energy drink producer – and Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd., based in the UK.

Their managing director Tom Jennings gives all the answers:

Tom, people paying their underground ride with their drinks – what exactly was going on in London?

Over a four day period, a limited number of Lucozade, the energy drink brand, was given away for free during rush hour at one of the busiest Tube stations in Central London, Oxford Circus. The base of the Lucozade bottles featured an NFC-enabled chip that allowed a free Tube ride across London.

Pay your ride with your drink! Here you see ballerina Alessia Lugoboni dancing her way into the London Subway [Screenshot from the above-mentioned video (c) Lucozade]

Pay your ride with your drink! Here you see ballerina Alessia Lugoboni dancing her way into the London Subway [Screenshot from the video, (c) Lucozade]

Who came up with this idea?

The creative design agency The Big Kick pitched this original idea to Lucozade and then together with our partners, we delivered the solution which means Lucozade are now the first fast-moving consumer goods brand in the UK to give free travel using their product.

Who was the target audience?

The campaign was aimed at commuters with the aim of helping Londoners ‘Find their Flow’, which is Lucozade’s advertising slogan, when travelling from A to B.

“The @LucozadeEnergy campaign shows how well contactless payments work in an unexpected context”

Tell us more about the technical side – how exactly did you manage to put the NFC information into the bottom of the bottle?

The solution was developed in collaboration with our partners. The chip was molded into a plastic disc and inserted into the base of the bottle. The underlying technology used by the MuchBetter.com wallet was powered by issuing from us, Wirecard Card Solutions, and provisioning by DigSeq who loaded the information onto the chip. GPS delivered the processing payment technology behind the programme.

The result was that commuters could simply tap the base of the bottle at the Tube entry gate on the way in and then again on the way out of their journey as they would with a normal contactless or Oyster card.

The campaign caused a lot of attention from classical and social media

“Get ready for something exciting!” – The campaign caused a lot of attention from classical and social media

And looking at the bottom line, how successful was the campaign?

It was a huge success with 76% redemption of 5000 bottles.

The advert featured ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ finalists Twist and Pulse, Olympic Bronze medal-winning gymnast Nile Wilson and ballet star Alessia Lugoboni who all participated in the promotion.

The whole campaign was very well received, both by commuters and achieved a high level of media interest. This was a great opportunity to show how well contactless payments can be used in an unexpected context, with multiple uses across various industries.

We’re already thinking about the next one!