Currently being tested in South America by Budweiser Brazil, the beer company has combined QR codes, NFC technology, smartphone cameras and the traditional paper beer cup to encourage friend connections over Facebook. Located at the bottom of the Buddy Cup, Budweiser Brazil has attached a microchip in addition to printing a QR code. When someone at a bar or event is handed the cup prior to getting it filled with a beer, they have to take a picture of the bottom of the cup or glass with their smartphone camera. Likely tied into a custom smartphone application, the cup is linked to the user’s personal Facebook account.
At this point, the custom smartphone application will automatically post on each person’s Facebook wall stating “I just became friends with ‘Person’s Name’. Drinking with the Buddy Cup at ‘Person’s Location’.” According to the promotional video, the toasting action authorizes a friend connection on Facebook, thus eliminating the need to connect on the social network after leaving the bar, party or event.
This concept is extremely similar to the Bump application for smartphones, basically using proximity to make a connection and trade contact information. At this time, Budweiser Brazil is testing the cup at sponsored events like concerts, festivals and other large gatherings. Hypothetically, this concept could be applied to other social networks as well. For instance, if someone was attending a trade show, perhaps toasting with someone else at the event would trade LinkedIn profile information to make a new professional contact. At this time, no plans have been announced by Budweiser in regards to testing the Buddy Cup in the United States or any other countries.