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AB InBev Beck’s Art Series 2019: Innovation Bottled

When AB InBev approached us to be a creative partner on a world-first packaging innovation project, it was the ideal time for our work on Beck’s Art Labels to be brought to a whole new level.

The Challenge

AB InBev has developed printing technology that could eliminate the need for labels and revolutionise bottle design. Our challenge was to find an imaginative use for this technology while honouring the creative legacy of Beck’s.

Our Approach

In 2018, McCannDublin commissioned six artists to design a new suite of labels for the world’s most creative beer. We inspired them by sharing our knowledge of Beck’s creative legacy, Bremen (Beck’s hometown), and the brewing process.

Another example of Beck’s commitment to creativity, the artwork made sure that every bottle stood out on the shelves – and looked amazing in the hands of more discerning beer drinkers everywhere.

Following that success and in line with Beck’s innovative, artistic spirit, AB InBev wanted to go bigger for the 2019 campaign. What if, instead of printing the artwork onto a piece of paper, we printed directly onto the bottle itself? Could it be time to say ‘goodbye’ to the art label – and ‘hello’ to the art bottle?

Tattoo Alpha Plant (yes, it’s really called that) thought it was time and they had the know how to make it happen. Their innovative printing technology meant that instead of being limited to the space on a label, artwork could cover the entire round of the bottle.

The Execution

In a world-first, direct-object printing technology was used to apply ink and varnish to Beck’s bottles. Our 2018 commissioned designs were liberated from the confines of their paper labels and allowed to run free, 360 degrees around the bottle.

Harnessing this new technology could bring further innovations and environmental benefits on-stream. And, if rolled out, this innovative process could have positive environmental effects due to the reduction in paper used.

But that’s not all. The ‘tattooing’ process also cuts four weeks out of print production schedules. That could make topical printing with messaging or decoration that reacts to recent events – sports events, art exhibitions, your birthday – possible. Individualisation of every bottle in a print run is also now doable. Imagine if each and everyone were a genuinely unique work of art? Actually we already have. Watch this space.

The Result

In total, 200,000 bottles were imprinted – or ‘tattooed’ – with our Beck’s art series designs. Bringing a whole new look and feel (literally: the ink is digitally embossed on the glass) to our Beck’s Art Series project.