Heineken’s Future Bottle Challenge

Future Bottle - Winning Design

Future Bottle – Winning Design


In 2012, to mark its 140th anniversary, Heineken created a global, integrated crowdsourcing program titled the Limited Edition Design Challenge.  With its high level of participation and overall campaign success, this program turned out to be one of the year’s best crowdsourcing campaigns.  It also entrenched and enhanced Heineken’s position/reputation throughout the social ecosystem, while generating awareness of the brand’s 140th anniversary.


Why We Liked It

The Future Bottle program successfully leveraged 140 years of iconic Heineken marketing and packaging design and the technographic profiles and digital behaviors of its fan base.  It also catalyized the brand’s digital ecosystem and created spirited social participation by asking customers and fans to explore, envision and directly influence a commemorative Future Bottle product packaging design — earmarked to celebrate the brand’s 140th anniversary.

The program loudly resonated with Heineken’s audience and generated approximately 30,000 design entries.  Based on our research, the volume and quality of response exceeded the expectations of the brand.

As a matter of fact, the Future Bottle design campaign was so successful, that it has already received a refresh and relaunch for 2013 (launched early December 2012 – see video at end of post). Which leads us to believe that the brand/marketing results were so overwhelmingly positive, that program could become a crowdsourcing vehicle for Heineken for years to come.


Program Details

Designers, both accomplished and aspiring, were asked to design a forwarding-leaning product look that represented a Heineken bottle of the future.  The primary design requirement was that the design concept should symbolize “people connecting”.  Once entries were submitted and archived online, participants were then asked to self-select, among each other, similar design concepts which they could then pair and present as a single design package.  The top 100 design packages would make it to final judging.

A robust Facebook application was created to administer the entire contest and act as the design hub. Within the application, users could accomplish the following:

  • Review and research program details and rules
  • Immerse oneself into interactive design features which showcase various Heineken product packaging examples
  • Download a design brief and product design toolkit (templates)
  • Upon design completion, officially upload work into the competition
  • Connect with other contest entrants to choose a packaging design partner
  • Review all entries within online galleries/archives and socially rank
  • Monitor updated design rankings



The top 100 “paired designs” were presented to an international jury in New York City:

  • Mark van Iterson, Global Head of Design at Heineken – spearheaded a panel of global design leaders
  • The top 100 designs were narrowed to the top three, then to the final winning team
  • Judging criteria included branding, creativity, aesthetics and conceptual delivery of connectivity
Future Bottle Contestants

Future Bottle Contestants

Mark van Iterson, Global Head of Design at Heineken, recently commented on the results and future of the program, “Open innovation and crowd sourcing are hot topics, but there are only few examples in which it really delivered successful concepts. This is a beautiful case to show that it can be very valuable to open up the opportunity for creative input from consumers all around the world. People were eager to engage and demonstrated amazing creative power. We ended up with a brilliant design and an almost endless source of inspiration.” *



From the 30,000 design submissions, one winning team emerged.  That team included Lee Dunford of Sydney, Australia (a freelance designer) and Rodolfo Kusulas of Monterrey, Mexico (a design student).  The teammates live nearly 9,000 miles apart, but they were connected via their common goal, design approach and the Heineken Future Bottle Facebook App.  Each winner was personally contacted and rewarded by Mark van Iterson.

The winning designs, as well as the designers’ names and signatures, were printed and packaged in a limited edition fun of Heineken Future Bottles.  By year-end 2012, nearly 1 million Future Bottles were distributed globally (equalling approx. 41,000 cases of Heineken).

Reflecting on his excitement of the overall campaign, Mark van Iterson noted that he was very impressed by the winning duo’s design. “Social connectivity was the inspiration behind Heineken’s brief to create a design that will mark our 140th year. Through a pioneering design process using digital space to unite creative talent from all around the world, Lee and Rodolfo have created a premium visual concept that summarizes how our world communicates through time.” *


What’s Next?  More Great Bottle Design Work in 2013


// Christopher Jones

Agency: Iris Nation
Sources: * Heineken International

Copyright © 2012 Heineken International B.V.


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