Stunning Sapporo Beer Ad, Website And Game Combine Live Action & Animation.

Sapporo Beer Website and Game

Sapporo Legendary Biru has got to be one of the most beautiful ads I’ve ever seen. This award-winning two minute video -and its web counterpart- for Sapporo Beer combines live action with animation to tell the story of the brand and brewing history of the Japanese beer.

Sapporo Legendary Biru Ad

Created by Dentsu, Canada in 2010, the two minute spot was co-directed by Mark Zibert of Sons and Daughters and Gary Thomas of Crush. It took over a month to shoot this creative film on location in Guangzhou, China.

“We looked at a few techniques off the top,” says Zibert. “We first considering creating the entire spot with motion control and CG. Then experimenting with projecting 2D art/matt paintings onto geometry (developed by Crush Sean Cochrane) and finding it had a unique quality to make this campaign stand apart. So the spot is not entirely photo or CG or 2D illustration, but a combination of all three,” adds Zibert.

A few screen grabs of the spot so you can see some of the beautiful imagery:

The video has also been edited down for a series of 15-second TV commercials, as well as a 60-second spot.

“We wanted something distinctly Sapporo and wanted to go through the heritage and the brewing process and combine the Japanese flavour but take it beyond sushi and make it mainstream,” said Glen Hunt, creative catalyst, Dentsu Canada.

The campaign is the first full-scale national effort in Canada and the first of any sort for the Toronto-based agency since taking the account over in January 2009. Sleeman had not worked with a full-service agency since 2007, when Doug (now Doug & Serge) held agency of record status.

The campaign took one and a half years of planning, and six months to shoot. The agency developed five distinct campaign ideas before narrowing it down to three, which were presented to the client, said Hunt.

“Each one of them had a wonderful response [but] ‘Legendary’ was their favourite,” he said.

Parts of the ad were shot in China in front of a green screen, and then brought back to Toronto where each shot was placed in position on a “map painting” and given a “3D type effect so that it created depth,” said Hunt.

Dentsu also assisted Concrete in the design of a new 500 ml can that features Japanese script meaning “premium” and the historic Sapporo “north” star embossed on the front.

“We know our consumers not only demand a high quality product, but also a brand that conveys attributes that appeal to their individuality,” said Kenny Sadai, president and CEO of Sleeman Breweries, in a release. “We felt tapping into the brand’s Japanese heritage and bringing to life the essence of ‘Biru’ would further illustrate those qualities.”


sapporo website

Sapporo launched a microsite with a contest that asked consumers to locate the hidden scrolls placed throughout the video for a chance at a trip to Japan. The trip has already been awarded but you can still play the game and explore the site to find the hidden ‘scrolls’.

Working with Dentsu, Lollipop created the site to support the launch of the Legendary Biru campaign for Sapporo Beer.

The site itself is centered on a character – the Sage – that is the keeper of the legend of Sapporo. He leads visitors on a ‘treasure hunt’ through the site where the goal is to collect a number of hidden scrolls. Some are easy to find and tell a brief story about the beer, while others are well hidden and require diligence to unlock. Those who reach the end of the journey are given a message tailored to the number of scrolls they’ve discovered, while those who manage to collect all 15 scrolls are entered to win a trip to Japan.

Check it out at

Lollipop designed and built the site, in addition to shooting the sage video. Sons & Daughters shot the live action, while Crush created the CG, mattes and final compositing. Sons & Daughters and Crush managed production, Lollipop was responsible for the interactive, and Grayson Matthews created the music featured in the spot.

Credits: Title: “Sapporo Legendary Biru”
Agency: Dentsu Canada, Inc.
City: Toronto
Campaign: Legendary Biru
Advertiser: Sapporo Breweries Ltd.
Brand: Sapporo
Type: Television
Length: 120 seconds
Market: Canada C
reative Director: Mr. Glen Hunt
Creative Director: Les Soos
Art Director: Les Soos
Art Director: Mr. David Glen
Copywriter: Mr. Dhaval Bhatt
Copywriter: Mr. Glen Hunt
Director: Mr. Mark Zibert
Director: Mr. Gary Thomas
Production Company: Sons & Daughters
Production Company: Crush
Account Director: Mr. Tim Binkley
Agency Producer: Ms. Sharon Kosokowsky
Post Production: Crush
Music Company / Composer: Grayson Matthews

Information, text and images courtesy of Creativity-Online, Sapporo, Lollipop and Adland

Special thanks to Thom Cordner for bringing the spot to my attention.