Offering a unique experience with digital printing

INNOVATION IN FOCUS: The aluminum can as the protagonist of a new and unique consumption experience

January 05, 2023

In recent years, the aluminum industry has significantly improved its production and design processes for beverage cans and, today, Ball Corporation is a pioneer in the market given its ability to offer customers with countless possibilities through Ball Digital Printing – an unprecedented technology that was born in Brazil. Launched in the second half of 2022, the new technology makes it possible to print cans with photographic quality and a multitude of colors, in addition to unique and customized labels. Ball Digital Printing increases the communication capacity of the can to even greater levels, providing a unique consumption experience.

Noticing that some limitations restricted customers when it came to thinking about complex labels, exclusive campaigns and special editions, Ball developed studies, techniques, and tests at its Can Experience unit, the largest and most complete can design center in the world, located in Jacareí, in the countryside of the state of São Paulo (Brazil). And since the launch of Ball Digital Printing, it is now possible for Ball to meet this demand for packaging customization, done faster and in smaller quantities, placing the company at the forefront for beverage companies that wish to have access to aluminum cans with image reproduction at up to 600DPIs in RGB photography language and infinite customization possibilities. With that, going to the market and finding a personalized can with a high-definition image of your sport’s team, or a special edition with several photos of your favorite band, for example, is closer to becoming a reality – and Ball guarantees its customers a technological advancement that goes hand in hand with interactive, multimedia campaigns that can potentially be linked to NFTs and the metaverse.

In Brazil, the first use of Ball Digital Printing was applied to create a giant panel, measuring 11 meters in length, made up of 1,400 cans that reproduced the work of photographer Marcelo Krause, internationally recognized for his underwater recordings. The photo was taken in Fernando de Noronha, the archipelago where Ball is building the first circular economy laboratory in Brazil. In celebration of World Oceans Day, the image of a hawksbill turtle in its natural habitat was displayed in high quality and fidelity to the colors captured under the sea, at the exit of the Sumaré subway station, on Oscar Freire Avenue, in Sao Paulo. The installation was viewed by approximately 9,000 people per day, and encouraged consumers to  select beverages in sustainable aluminum cans as a way to preserve  the environment.

Another example of how Ball Digital Printing is able to transform can consumption into a unique experience with exclusive and collectible items was demonstrated with the launch of the special edition of “Vermelhão”, by Better Drinks, that brings together a premium beverage package. The drink counts on famous Brazilian singer Gusttavo Lima as one of its partners, and in celebration of his 33rd birthday, the drink was distributed for the first time in an aluminum can as part of a marketing initiative in which 1989 cans of “Vermelhão” (the year the singer was born) were printed with 33 different photos of Gusttavo Lima in high quality. The cans were available to fans only as unique, customized, and collectible items.

Also, this year, in a joint initiative with the Brazilian breweries NewAge and IMPLICANTES, Ball launched Wienbier 56 BLACK Puro Malte, a special edition of a dark beer for the National Day of Black Consciousness – celebrated in Brazil on November 20. With the collaboration of Diego Dias, designer and founding partner of IMPLICANTES, a brand that is responsible for the first black-owned brewery in the country, Ball Digital Printing allowed the production of five different labels that featured anti-racist phrases and urban graffiti art style, distributed in 20,000 beer units.

By transforming the aluminum can into more than just a container that transports beverages, Ball Digital Printing also enabled other Ball Corporation customers to deliver new experiences to Brazilian consumers in 2022. For example, NewAge launched a special edition beer called “Hexamalte”, in reference to the hopes of Brazil winning the FIFA World Cup for a sixth time, which included six special labels that showcased Brazilian characteristics known to fans – such as typical animals, moments of supporting the team and famous landscapes from the country. Additionally, Masterpiece brewery, traditionally known for bringing reinterpretations of classic art works to its beers, was able to launch four new labels for its nationally and internationally awarded beers, transforming the aluminum cans into true works of art and honoring the creations of painters Antônio Parreiras, Byron Randall, Antônio Machado and Mohamed Helal.

In a market with a high demand rotation, Ball Corporation offers clients the innovation needed to make new experiences a reality right at the palm of the consumers’ hands through Ball Digital Printing.