Perhaps a little inspired by the journey from hell to heaven in the Standard Hotel, Sapporo travels from the deep roots of tradition, harnessing the power of mythological dragons to heat their beer, and up to the modern neon-lit Tokyo. The visual feast is set to the catchy sound of drums.
Via Dentsu Canada, Sons and Daughters and Crush partnered to create a lavish journey though Japan’s rich cultural heritage that reveals the brewing process behind Sapporo beer.
Co-directed by Mark Zibert (Sons and Daughters) and Gary Thomas (Crush), the beautifully detailed two min film was shot on location over a month in Guangzhou, China.
“The original concept was to create an other-worldly visual experience that would gradually tell the story of how Sapporo beer is crafted,” explains Thomas. Taking children’s cutaway storybooks as their starting point, Thomas and Zibert drew on a range of film and VFX techniques to build the finished image.
“Aesthetically 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.
Three dedicated artists were assigned to create each of the transitional rooms, with illustrations by James Zhang guiding the way at very step. To bring the film to life, Zibert and Thomas paid meticulous attention to the casting, working with an assortment of trained martial arts experts, sumo wrestlers and actors cast as Samurai and Geisha. Japanese cultural advisors were on set throughout to ensure authenticity across the production, with the same level of detail being paid to costume design and art direction.
“We were excited about this project from the moment it came in,” enthuses Thomas. “We all saw it as a one-time opportunity to do something amazing which would stand out in its field and prove that people are still open to seeing advertising that intrigues and delights.”
The project was done in Flame and Inferno, with Maya, and After Effects. A special thanks goes out to Loki VFX who contributed to the awesome dragon sequence.