Sapporo adds a touch of modernity to Legendary campaign

The second phase of Legendary Biru illustrates a more urban brand

Sleeman Breweries has launched a new TV campaign for its Sapporo brand that focuses on the beer’s Japanese heritage with a modern twist.

Developed by Toronto agency DentsuBos, 30- and 60-second TV spots feature animation in the sumi-e style – Japanese ink-wash painting that dates back 1,000 years. In “Legendary Bĭru: After Dark,” animated samurai archers, geishas and dragons come to life at a cosmopolitan lounge scene.

“From research, we know that premium beer drinkers associate Sapporo’s iconic steel can with an urban lifestyle, and the brand’s recent growth has been in the realm of its connection with nightlife and music,” said Scott Pederson, director of marketing at Sleeman Breweries.

The new ads are the second installment of Sapporo’s “Legendary Bĭru” campaign (bĭru is Japanese for beer), which launched in 2010. It was the first full-scale national effort for the beer in Canada and the first Sapporo work by DentsuBos since winning the account in 2009. The launch ad won Best in Show at the third annual ROI Awards in Shanghai.

“The first Legendary Bĭru ad was a tribute to the brand’s heritage and brewing history, and the production was unlike anything seen in the beer category at that time,” Pederson said. “‘After Dark’ extends the campaign into a contemporary environment, communicated both visually and with the infusion of a modern electronic track.”

The campaign also includes digital, social media and public relations initiatives. The digital media plan includes page takeovers and animated ad formats. Paid social with Facebook and Twitter will be leveraged to drive viewership of the TV spot.

The sumi-e animation was done in the U.S. by Imaginary Forces and Big Picture, which managed the production. Music and sound design was done by Vapor Music.

Citizen Relations is handling PR, while Jungle Media is handling the media buy.

Sapporo, the oldest beer brand in Japan, was first brewed in Sapporo, Japan in 1876. Guelph, Ont.-based Sleeman Breweries was acquired by Sapporo Breweries in 2006.

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