Smart packaging adds more mystique to Oculto beer

Rick Lingle in Smart Packaging on December 15, 2015

Anheuser-Busch leverages IoT technology for the first time using smart label packaging with LEDs powered by paper batteries in a very special limited edition bottle of Oculto beer.


Special events call for a special beer and that calls for extra special beer packaging. That’s what Anheuser-Busch’s atypical Oculto beer brand has done by loading the bottle packaging with even more technology for even more consumer interaction.

Earlier this year, the brewer launched a mass-marketed beer that was pretty impressive with some intriguing packaging features to play off the brand’s aura of mystery (see Mysterious Oculto beer serves on-package surprises). Now the brewer has upped the interactive ante using two light-emitting diodes (LEDs) powered by a printed paper battery as part of smart label packaging that also leverages an Internet of Things (IoT) connection, the latter a first for Anheuser-Busch.

The new “fully loaded” limited edition (LE) bottle was served at the brand’s “Garden of Hedon” event in Miami on November 19.

To create the illuminated bottle, the brand partnered with Inland Packaging to leverage smart label technology featuring printed electronic pathways, paper batteries, micro switches and LED lights using a pressure-sensitive label design. The pressure switch is placed where the thumb naturally falls while holding a beer bottle, and when pressed, the LED lights begin to shine through the eyes of the mask on the front of the bottle for about three to four seconds. The special edition bottle was only available at the event and will be featured at select Oculto events in 2016.

"With the original Oculto packaging, we focused on creating a truly innovative bottle with a host of discoverable elements—everything from hidden messages on the back of the label to eyes that mysteriously appear when the bottle gets cold," says  Mallika Monteiro, senior brand director, Oculto, Anheuser-Busch. "Oculto's unique positioning and social nature inspired both the illuminated bottle and the Relics of the Night digital activation to further highlight the personality and social nature of the beer."

"Inland is thrilled to partner with Oculto to create this innovative, illuminating bottle," says Tricia Sime, Inland’s packaging innovation director. "This technology demonstrates how packaging and marketing can come together to bring consumers a full sensory experience."

For Sime, label development was a “fun project that pushes the envelope of high-functionality smart packaging that’s part of the brand’s identity,” she tells Packaging Digest. Sime says the project was in development for six months, meaning it was initiated soon after the brand debuted on Friday March 13 earlier this year. She discloses that the label uses patent-pending technology and was the company’s first illuminated label.

While the various components make it sound complex, Sime tells PD that “it’s simplistic in the way it works. It was important that it be user friendly.”

We interviewed Oculto senior brand director Monterio to pull back a little more of the curtain of mystery surrounding Oculto’s latest value-added packaging.

Next: Insights on packaging, IoT and plans

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