In many an article on the internet Coke’s Ice Bottle “Cold to the last drop”, I come back to this later, is seen as a marvellous marketing gimmick and nothing more. Sterling Anthony even wrote a critical article for PackWorld, titled: “Analyzing Coke’s ice bottle”.
I don’t agree with the general analyses, that Coke’s Ice Bottle is a gimmick or even worse a marketing joke. Although I doubt, it was the intention of Coca Cola to join the movement of “no- packaging” or the trend of “edible packaging”, it certainly will set off and encourage the further development of these technologies.
Much of our thrown-out waste consists of packing material. Despite we are working on solutions to reduce waste, and more and more packages appear on the market that are compostable and made from recycled materials, many still see packaging as superfluous. For this group of people the development of the “no-packaging” might be the answer. But much more interesting is the development of the edible packaging. In the (near) future you won’t just eat the content, but also the packaging that surrounds it.
In November last year a snack bar next to the Musée de Louvre in Paris started selling products in edible packaging from WikiCell Designs. Wiki Cells packaging, developed by David Edwards, a professor at Harvard University, is made of chocolate, fruit, nuts or seeds with a bit of chitosan (biochemical polymer) or alginate (from seaweed). There are several variants of Wiki Cells. For example, a soup surrounded by the membrane of a tomato, or a membrane of an orange containing orange juice. Others products are more reminiscent of a fruit peel. This tougher version of the Wiki Cells is made of cane or isomalt. Overall it looks a bit like the skin of an apple, pear, grape or orange. The edible coating can have virtually any flavour. The products basically look like balls. To use the product the consumer need only to wash it, after which it can safely be eaten with content and all.
The Naked Ice Cream
Brazil has many a beautiful sandy beach and they are intensely frequented during every season of the year. Ice cream is very popular over here, so Nestlé thought it wise to introduce a special banana ice cream. That sounds nothing special, except that the product is encased in a gelatine layer that can be peeled as a real banana.
This is one of the first industrial examples of the edible skin packaging. By the way the banana peel was first introduced by Nestlé in Hong Kong.
And now the Ice Bottle, with which I started my article.
Coca Cola’s Ice Bottle
In Colombia the beach vendors are serving Coke in bottles made from ice. The Ice Bottles are true to their glass counterparts, keeping with Coca-Cola’s uniquely shaped contour bottle that includes the iconic Spencerian script lettering etched in ice.
Marketing agency Ogilvy & Mather Colombia received top honours for the “Botella de Hielo” or “Ice Bottle” in Bilbao, Spain at the Sol Awards, which celebrates the best creativity in Ibero-America.
How to make an Ice Bottle
The process starts with pouring micro-filtered water into silicone moulds, then freezing the water to minus 25°C. The result is the iconic hour-glass-shaped bottled, but this one’s made entirely of ice. For all intents and purposes, the outward appearance is that of a frosted mug, allowing the drink to be seen but not with complete contact clarity.
The Ice Bottles are transported to the Columbian beaches, filled at the vendors stall, and then sold to beachgoers.
Coca Cola claims that the ice bottle is eco-friendly, as it, unlike a plastic bottle, contains no petroleum-based components, and afterwards, the bottle simply melts.
To ensure those ordering up the iced Cokes don’t walk away with frozen fingers, each bottle is wrapped with a rubber Coke-logoed, red band that allows the drinker to hold the ice cold beverage with comfort. Once the bottle is liquefied, the band is supposed to double as a keepsake bracelet fans can wear.
That “keepsake bracelet” frustrates (among others things) Sterling Anthony, a consultant, specializing in the strategic use of marketing, logistics, and packaging, as he puts the question forward in his article in PackWorld: “What’s the best way of preventing the beach from being littered with those pieces?”
Although I don’t agree with him in all details, Anthony has a series of good arguments against the ice bottle, but that is without looking at the future and tremendous possibilities of this design for the edible and no-packaging segment.
For me it is a further step into the world of edible, minimalized and no-packaging.