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Norwegian soda company sets world's largest message in a bottle adrift

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April 18, 2013

Solo, a soft drink company based in Norway, recently built an 8-meter (26-foot) tall repli...

Solo, a soft drink company based in Norway, recently built an 8-meter (26-foot) tall replica soda bottle outfitted with solar panels, a camera, and tracking technology and set it adrift in the ocean

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Sending messages in bottles has been around since at least the Ancient Greeks, but it's doubtful that anyone back then sent out a bottle quite like this. As part of a promotional campaign, Solo, a soft drink company based in Norway, recently built an 8-meter (26-foot) tall replica soda bottle outfitted with solar panels, a camera, and tracking technology and set it adrift in the ocean.

When Solo wanted to run a contest involving a sea-worthy bottle, it enlisted Bård Eker, co-owner of several vehicle design companies, to handle the construction. The finished product, which was completed after several months of work, measures 2.5 meters (8 feet) in diameter, weighs 2,500 kilograms (2.7 tons), and is even registered and insured as a boat.

Solo towed the bottle off the coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands and left it at the mercy of the currents. Inside the bottle is a case of Solo and a 12 square meter (129 square foot) letter in various languages explaining that whoever finds the giant bottle wins a finders party in the nearest town and lists a phone number to call. The company also set up a website where users can post their guess as to where they think the bottle will eventually land, with a correct guess winning one real bottle of Solo for each nautical mile the oversized one travels.

Solo, a soft drink company based in Norway, recently built an 8-meter (26-foot) tall repli...

As you might imagine, you can't just dump a giant bottle into the ocean – at least not publicly – without taking a few legal precautions first. Solo consulted shipping insurance companies, ocean researchers, and marine biologists to ensure that the vessel fit the proper requirements for a drifting object in international waters.

As such, the enormous bottle is equipped with navigation lights, an Automatic Identification System, a radar reflector, and GPS tracking technology, all powered through solar panels on the top. It also has a customized camera that is programmed to tweet a 360-degree panorama every eight hours and is outfitted with nozzles that clear the lenses with fresh water from an onboard tank.

The enormous bottle is equipped with navigation lights, an Automatic Identification System...

Solo will continue to track the bottle as it travels the Atlantic Ocean and has stated it will collect it whenever and wherever it washes up. The company has even offered to tow it to shore if it nears a coastline that prohibits unmanned vessels from landing.

In a released statement, Solo CEO, Joakim Sande joked, "Hopefully we will not end up breaking Captain Brown's record for the oldest message in a bottle – it roamed the sea for 97 years and 309 days."

Check out the video below to see the construction and launch of the giant Solo bottle.

Source: Solo

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.   All articles by Jonathan Fincher
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13 Comments

Ironic? Solo and other soft drink companies are to blame for a good percentage of the plastic bottles which help pollute the ocean. They should instead be sending out a URV - unmanned recycling vehicle.

Matthias Sammitza
18th April, 2013 @ 04:48 am PDT

It would be cool if it played 'Rescue Me' when it is found. I wonder what could be next? Perhaps soda shaped boats with outboards? :)

BigWarpGuy
18th April, 2013 @ 05:29 am PDT

This isn't creative/innovative; this is pollution.

Artem Down
18th April, 2013 @ 09:20 am PDT

Maybe it will find its way to the Texas-sized island of plastic pollution floating around the Pacific Ocean. At least it can't choke a bird or whale that mistakes it for food, like the smaller junk can.

f8lee
18th April, 2013 @ 10:13 am PDT

Love it. Someone in the marketing department had a great idea. But part of me also agrees with Matthias, that they should also be sending out an "URV".

Milton
18th April, 2013 @ 11:34 am PDT

This isnt pollution. If they abandoned it, it would be, but they can track it, it pulls it's energy from the sun, and in the end, they will pick it up..

Charles Tribbey
18th April, 2013 @ 02:01 pm PDT

@f8lee: I think it would be great if this ended up in the plastic island (I suspect it would be a lot more likely to end up in the Atlantic one, given it's nation of origin). Then we could have years of video footage of just what bottle and soft drink manufacturers (who are currently spending millions worldwide to defeat simple but effective recycling programs like bottle deposits) leave us with.

Actually, I think it would be cool to capture this, cover the camera, outfit it with bottle collection robotics (also run off of solar power) and have it return to it's home location. More likely it will be monitored by pirates to learn the locations of high value ships though.

Phyzzi
18th April, 2013 @ 02:11 pm PDT

I would rescue this and sell it for scrap If I spotted it floating past my luxury yacht :-P

Kääriäinen Heikki Haykey
18th April, 2013 @ 09:05 pm PDT

This is NOT pollution, any more than your dad's boat is pollution. It is not pollution if it is monitored and fully accounted for! If they abandon it and never think of it again, it's pollution.

stimpy77
18th April, 2013 @ 11:42 pm PDT

"Solo and other soft drink companies are to blame for a good percentage of the plastic bottles which help pollute the ocean."

Prima facie DREK! HOW IN HELL IS ANY COMPANY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MISCONDUCT OF THE JERKS THAT USE AND/OR DISPOSE OF THEIR PRODUCTS IRRESPONSIBLY. I have a solution, require every person (not just the jerks) be licensed to purchase anything contained in a plastic bottle from every retailer. THINK OF THE REVENUES ! And of course it's for the sake of the children.

Dave B13
19th April, 2013 @ 07:51 am PDT

More crap in our oceans hosting the paradigm,"Bad publicity is a good thing."

I never heard of this junk nor would I ever give this company any money!

Wolfhoundpax
21st April, 2013 @ 05:10 pm PDT

@wolfhoundpax

you probably have given that company (solo) money at one point in your life. they are one of the leading producers of disposable coffee cups and lids, along with various pop/ drink bottles.

CommanderKlassen
22nd April, 2013 @ 07:05 am PDT

Is it the same company though?? This says Solo soft drinks, thats an interesting tidbit.

Drea Parrish
30th July, 2013 @ 04:01 pm PDT
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