Bud Light’s Mass Customization Packaging Can

Personal Bottle

Customization is a peculiar way to differentiate from the competition ─ and from oneself, really. With mass customization packaging, everything is unique.


Bud Light recently decided to tackle the music-festival craze lovers with a dramatic movement: mass-customized cans, 200.000 to be precise. Anheuser-Busch, Bud Light’s brand owner, distributed each of the 16-oz cans, (decorated with a digitally printed shrink sleeve label), among this year’s Mad Decent Block Party music events, in hope of engaging the youth community.

And it paid off, according to Valerie Toothman, Vice President of Innovation at Anheuser-Busch:

[quote style=”boxed”]“Consumers responded incredibly well to the Mad Decent Bud Light Festival Cans and propelled interest beyond the Mad Decent fan base by sharing thousands of can images on social media.”[/quote]

The bold and personalized can designs just happened to encourage that sharing experience. If you knew you had a unique can, wouldn’t you want to keep it and share it? That’s what the people did, and that’s what made it successful.

Bud Light Mass Customization

But how did they manage to design 200.000 different cans? The answer is easier than it would look like: at first, it was just 31. Mad Decent itself was commissioned with four dedicated designs, and the other 27 were designed by different artists.

Then, the HP SmartStream Mosaic design software manipulated the designs through an algorithm with a capacity of, brace yourselves, 1×1.000.000 ─ which gives us 31 million different designs to choose from, mind you. Bud Light, then, just made the cut and sent it to print via HP Indigo’s WS6800 Digital Press.

Coca Cola Mass Customization Packaging

It’s no surprise from Bud Light to blaze into such a risky adventure, as they’ve always been one of the big brands in the social game, (from the good, to the great, to the absolute worst). But they’re not the fist to make use of mass customization in its packaging: Coca-Cola did it in Israel some time ago, and their numbers just crush Bud Light’s 1000 to 1.

The campaign was made possible, again, thanks to HP Indigo’s algorithm ─ 2 million unique bottles of Diet Coke were produced around the “Stay Extraordinary” tagline. But the marketing campaign went much further: billboards lined the streets, chosen outlets were allowed to create Diet-Coke related products, an online portal was developed, etc.

The grand prize, though, had been claimed already.

Mass Customization Packaging Absolut Vodka

Absolut Vodka set a record with its 4 million unique bottles back in 2013, and nobody has been capable of surpassing that milestone.

Eric Näf, Director of Packaging Development at Absolut, nails the concept:

[quote style=”boxed”]“To make only one of each bottle, so every consumer can have their own unique product, [the bottles] had to be beautiful, as well. Not just different, but beautiful.”[/quote]

And they are.


Sponsored by Derprosa, leading brand in biaxially oriented polypropylene films for packaging.