Art Center Prints Directly onto Pizza Crusts (UPDATED!)

Art Center, Brazil printed 400 pizzas—quite literally. The project, produced for Art Center’s own promotional campaign on an Inca Spyder 320 and Inca Onset S20, featured both an appetizing topping printed directly on real pizza crust, the box, and even wraps for the delivery cars. Despite previous successful forays for clients with such unconventional print media, the company found an entirely new set of challenges intrinsic to everyone’s favorite Italian staple food.

The Art Center team began by ordering hundreds of naked pizza crusts. The doughy substrate, however, was not without its difficulties. “When they began baking, the heat of the ovens, of course, created bubbles in the crust,” remarks Jacques Pedrosa, Art Center’s Commercial Director. They overcame the challenge by pre-treating the crust. “We had to bake each pizza under a heavy disk of MDF stabilizing it, and making them as flat as possible. Then, we were able to print on them.”

First, they printed pizza topping on paper to create a template so that each crust could be correctly positioned on the sheet. They created and used specialized frames to maintain each pizza’s position during printing.

Afterwards, the pizzas were slipped into custom-designed and printed boxes (imaged on their Inca Onset S20) from “La Pizza,” an imaginary pizzeria of Art Center’s own creation. “We also print on paper,” claims the inside of each box.

“The competitive scenario in São Paulo for print companies is quite difficult,” adds Pedrosa, “so Art Center decided to produce a targeted campaign directed towards decision-makers in advertising and design agencies. The challenge was to communicate that we have the best in technology and equipment—like Inca printers, for example—and a great staff to print and produce creative materials for ads, displays, signs, and special projects.”

Their targets’ stomachs, it turns out, were just as big as their eyes.

“Based on the fact that our clients and prospects eat pizzas at the office very often—especially when they work late at night—we decided to create a campaign to deliver some real pizzas, baked in an oven, but with their toppings printed by Inca UV inkjet printers,” says Pedrosa. “To complete the illusion, we created a virtual pizzeria, complete with pizza boxes and delivery cars.”

The clients receiving the promotion were then invited to visit Art Center’s Web site, and those who commented on it were rewarded with a free pizza from the best pizzeria in São Paulo. “We had the pleasure of paying for about 170 pizzas, but the best was yet to come,” says Pedrosa.

The “joke,” it turns out, had quite an impact. “A very well-recognized professional in the São Paulo advertising industry went to his creative group and said, ‘Guys, we have to work with these people more often—they understand our business.’

“To our surprise, he even came to our studio for a visit. It was amazing. This was a very big agency. They came with business and quotes.”

Inca Pizza 2Within three months of the promotion, Art Center had received seven quotes for special projects, netting $195,000 in profit. The initial campaign cost a comparatively meager $16,000. “Best of all, we are still remembered in the marketplace as a creative company able to develop unique and new solutions for print advertising,” says Pedrosa.

The pizza campaign earned Art Center a Special Award for Creativity and a runner-up in the Self-Promotional Targeted Campaign category in the Inca Digital Excellence Awards.

Art Center has also produced a number of other different creative jobs for Brazilian agencies. Peugeot created an advertisement for Revista Fluir a magazine covering surf and water sports, launching a car aimed at the surfers.

“The agency asked us to partner with them in developing an ad,” explains Pedrosa. “We created a sheet of wax suitable for surfboards and printed the ad directly on this wax sheet, using our Inca Spyder printer. The ads were inserted as pages in the magazine.

“After surfers had read the ad, they were able to tear the sheet out of the magazine, roll the wax into a ball, and use it on their surfboards.”

Another advertisement was created for a company that was awarded the title “Best Road Management Company of the Year” in Brazil. The company wanted to feature an ad in the reputable biweekly Brazilian business magazine, Revista Exame, explaining their pride in receiving such an honor.

“While the roads they manage are in Sao Paulo, many of the magazine’s readers live outside of the city,” notes Pedrosa. “The company wanted to send these readers a piece of pavement from one of their roads. We therefore created a sheet of pavement, which involved developing paper that emulated the surface of the road. We printed on the asphalt sheets using our Inca printers. They looked and felt like real pavement.”

Pedrosa appropriately notes that, because they have Inca printers, “We can fly with creativity and convert imaginative ideas into unique products.”

For more information, visit www.incadigital.com.

UPDATE!
To view a video of this project, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NICnMcWCDY.


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