- AB InBev-owned Stella Artois is introducing B.A.R.T., or Bartending Automatic Robotic Technology, an accessory that attaches to a robot vacuum and "serves" drinks and snacks while cleaning up after itself, a news release announced .
- B.A.R.T. is installed onto the top of a robot vacuum like a Roomba and features a custom tray that holds four bottles of Stella Artois, the brand's signature chalices and a bowl for party snacks. Its cup holders are designed to keep beer from spilling while the robot is moving around.
- A limited number of the accessories were available for $19.99 but have since sold out. Consumers can download blueprints to make their own B.A.R.T. at home.
Billing B.A.R.T. as a "robot bartender," "the perfect hosting hack” and "ideal party trick," the new campaign from Stella Artois is timely, as the holiday season is a popular time for parties. The novelty factor and the brand's attempt to take the stress out of planning and hosting a holiday gathering could help Stella boost its social media traffic and drive sales around the holidays, a time when sales of wine and spirits often overshadow beer.
The life hack and experience-driven messaging that gives consumers a fresh use for a product they may already have — a robot vacuum — could resonate with younger consumers, a key demographic for the brand. Stella is also tapping into consumers' growing interest in smart home gadgets, which will likely be popular gift items around the holidays. Beer brands have been looking for creative ways to stand out and engage with millennial and Gen Z drinkers, who are drinking less beer than other demographics.
B.A.R.T. isn't Stella's first foray into merchandise. The robot bartender and messaging focused on enjoying time with family and friends follows a similar campaign released in August. Stella partnered with actor Luke Evans on a new audio guide called StellaSpace that focused on being in the moment and instructed people how to savor their beer. As part of that campaign, the brand also released a limited-edition Sip & Savor Chalice with "sip markers” to help drinkers savor their Stella Artois.
This also isn't AB InBev's first use of quirky, branded merchandise to build brand awareness and connect with consumers. Michelob Ultra in August introduced the Ultra Caddie Bag at the PGA Championship. The prototype golf bag is equipped with a keg of beer, a custom Michelob Ultra tap handle, a rechargeable Bluetooth speaker, built-in tablet, storage for pint glasses and LED lighting. The brand held a social media contest to give away the golf bag.