Sapporo Legendary Biru Commercial

If you have to take a bathroom break, do it during the program because you won’t want to miss this TV commercial for Sapporo Beer – or “biru” as the Japanese would pronounce it.

Developed by Toronto-based Dentsu Canada, the commercial represents the Japanese beermaker’s first full-scale ad campaign in Canada. Co-directed by Mark Zibert of Sons and Daughters and Gary Thomas of Crush, the film was shot on location in Guangzhou, China over the period of a month.

A mythological tale of how Sapporo beer is crafted, the two-minute film has an other-worldly epic quality like “Lord of the Rings.” It combines photography, animation/CG, and 2D art/matt paintings onto geometry, developed by Crush’s Sean Cochrane. Three dedicated artists were assigned to create each of the transitional rooms, with illustrations by James Zhang guiding the way. The cast too was composed of authentic trained martial artists, taiko drummers, and sumo wrestlers, along with actors playing samurai warriors and geishas. All in all, it’s an elegant departure from the “male-bonding, jock-humor” beer ads shown on American TV.