Magnetic Energy in Barcelona

An experience with a silver lining

Written by Elseline Ploem
Brand Director at VBAT

Image courtesy of irbarcelona

We proudly received a prestigious silver Pentaward for our HEINEKEN Fobo design. But the true reward was bigger than that. It was the recognition and confirmation that a constant level of success is a matter of teamwork. Not only in creating a safe and inspirational environment within our agency but also truly partnering up with our client. As well as working in close harmony with our competitors without being paralyzed by the fear of losing things.

When you have found that perfect balance there is a magnetic energy that lights up a room. That is when the magic starts to happen and new ideas and initiatives are born.

It was exactly that vibe that was unleashed during the 11th Pentawards ceremony. Collecting and celebrating our award together with Heineken was great. The challenging and most importantly open discussions with our biggest competitors were very inspirational. In the end, we were dancing the night away together and made it a night to remember.

Therefore I truly feel the value of excellent teamwork should be recognised and rewarded more. The launch of the new Pentaward for ‘Excellence in Creativity’ is a great example. It rightly went to the Global HEINEKEN Design team, being known for their consistent design success and really teaming up with their design partners.

The Global HEINEKEN Design Team with members of the Pentawards organisation.

Who knows, the Pentawards organisation might even like the idea of introducing an ‘Excellent Creative Partnership Award’ next year in New York? That would be one we would love to get our hands on!

So what about it #Pentawards
From left to right: Ramses Dingenouts — Senior Packaging & Identity Design Manager at HEINEKEN; Elseline Ploem — Brand Director VBAT; Mark van Iterson — Director Global HEINEKEN Design.

About the winning design:

A Silver Pentaward for the HEINEKEN FOBO.

In today’s hi-speed connected world we re-appreciate the value of authentic, real things. Grandfather’s leather bag, your own favourite pair of jeans, a watch that was designed for cosmonauts. They all have a story to tell; that’s what makes them unique and beautiful.

Now imagine what great stories from real people this voice of authenticity could tell through that one Heineken bottle if it were to be passed forward. They would experience legendary nights out, witness fascinating conversations and are there to toast important life events.

This represents the perfect starting point to create a game-changing view and add value to returnable bottles. Thus changing the paradigm that returnable bottles are less attractive and less premium.

Meet Heineken FOBO: the forwardable bottle, that doesn’t get trashed nor is ‘just’ a returnable. By renaming, VBAT instantly got rid of the backward looking old fashioned idea of returnable bottles and started looking forward.

The FOBO has a unique bottle shape and a distinctive embossed branding principle that will start to get scuffed over time. The more it scuffs, the whiter it becomes, the more it will stand out, the more attractive it gets.

In the white screen-printed area each bottle has an unique code. Via fobo.fr consumers can see where that particular bottle has been, what it experienced, which special cool night, or which surprising encounters it witnessed. And you can add your own message to forward it to the next consumer, as a chapter of the connected story chains. Each bottle is part of the HEINEKEN future that we will build story by story.

Over time, all FOBOs reduced HEINEKEN’s carbon footprint significantly. HEINEKEN FOBO is a clear example of HEINEKEN’s open minded progressive spirit. Forward thinking, utilizing the positive power of the brand and of creativity. Its is HEINEKEN in its purest essence: the power of simplicity.

FOBO has been launched Summer 2016 in hip and premium bars in Paris and other big cities across France, and the take up has been above expectation.

It clearly underlined the leadership and innovative drive of the HEINEKEN brand: this is a real breakthrough concept with the potential to stop the decline of returnable bottles, and shift markets with one way bottles into returnable … forwardable bottles.


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written by Elseline Ploem
Brand Director at VBAT
edited by Connie Fluhme
PR at VBAT

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