For 4 years, Sapporo USA was my client and Moosylvania was Sapporo’s
agency of record. Our goal was to help grow the Japanese brands with niche
targets outside of sushi occasions.
From day one of becoming the AOR, we began discussing growth plans for their entire product portfolio. Evaluating the entire portfolio and ensuring that all products meet the standards set by the flagship steel can was a top priority on the list. Prior to our redesign, the portfolio had been disjointed, lacking a cohesive approach over the years. Our redesign not only established variants of sub-products but also contributed to a wider brand recognition, ultimately resulting in increased case sales.”
Below is an outline of the initiatives my team implemented that significantly grew the brand both on-premise and off-premise over the course of four years.
During year one we began our journey to bring Sapporo out of the Sushi bars and into the hands of our newly defined target audience. A target audience comprised of creative professionals in key markets on the West Coast. This niche audience was informed by the insight that creative professionals are more willing to consider trying Sapporo outside of traditional Sushi occasions.
Right out of the gate we began by launching a national ad campaign with a call to action for Americans to try a Japanese tradition that hasn’t quite been Americanized, a.k.a. flubbed. This campaign was our first step away from Sushi and our first step towards a new perception by our target consumer, with placements in publications and on sites that resonate with our target.
To reach this newly defined target, we needed to establish ourselves as advocates of creativity. By creating a story for the brand and building something very cool to strive towards, we would connect with our consumer.
I began searching for the best creative partner to help us check all of the boxes. Soon enough, I found Moto-Matic Mopeds, an independent, authentic, creative group doing something unique enough to be the perfect fit. After negotiating a partnership, we began to work together to release a fleet of truly one of a kind hand crafted Mopeds.
Our client’s media buy had only planned to utilize off/on-premise promotions and Facebook advertising. We knew that we had an interesting story to tell here and great potential for content with our Motomatic partner.
Working with the limitations of the budget and the need for additional content was a challenge I graciously accepted. Without the ability to hire a film crew and editors, I personally traveled to Sacramento to spend a few days with the guys at Moto-Matic and document their process using my own Canon 60d. After returning and assembling the content, we strategically circulated it within the creative community. Our video began to spread organically, picking up steam and becoming the primary point of entry and number one driver to the summer promotion.
TARGET CONSUMER SUCCESS
Moto-matic released this video to their own community, creating a huge fan base for the brand by doing something different and investing in a creative subculture to bring the craftsmanship and originality into the open. Soon enough the video was being shared among other creative communities and sub-genres.
This story became the number one driver to the promotion, creating a formula and inciting a request from the client to find a new creative partner with a creative story each year following this promotion.
The program also granted Sapporo large footprints of floor space in the off-premise environment. Sapporo gained larger displays and sold more cases by utilizing the moped as a sought after display piece.
Revamping The Product
Following a successful first year, we entered year two with the objective of refining the overall brand packaging to achieve greater cohesion and complementarity with the flagship steel can. My team embarked on a comprehensive revamp of the entire packaging portfolio, alongside a re-introduction campaign that placed a stronger emphasis on the product.
Furthermore, we developed a summer sales promotion that followed the successful formula of the Moped, incorporating a dealer loader retail incentive and a compelling brand story that aligned with the “salute an original” intrinsic origin story of our brand.
Saluting An Original From The Original Japanese Beer
“Kampai (cheers) + Pioneer
Sapporo is the original Japanese beer, founded in 1876. “Kampai” is the Japanese word for “cheers.” Despite being discouraged by his own parents, the founder was a pioneer who pursued his own path and created something truly unique.
We introduced the concept of a “Kampioneer,” representing a toast from one original individual to another, celebrating the spirit of pioneering one’s own originality.
This idea was brought to life through a brand campaign, user-generated content (UGC), and on-premise experiential activities. Additionally, the campaign was complemented by a summer program following the moped formula, along with various digital and on-premise activations.”