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Drinking with drones

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective ad campaigns and marketing ideas

Pigeon drones bring a taste of the country life to Japanese beer drinkers

Japanese beer brand Kirin is using a family of pigeon drones to raise awareness for its latest brew. And yes, you did read that right.

To launch Off-White, its new happoshu or low-malt beer, Kirin created a campaign centred on drones designed to look like pigeons. The brand worked with agency Party, Tokyo to create a smartphone app that enables people in the rural town of Taketa to interact with the pigeon drones. Using the Potline app they can send a message to their favourite member of the pigeon family and arrange for them to visit. The drones will fly out to the Taketa residents with a GoPro camera to film their reactions.

Kirin also turned a 100-year-old country house in Taketa into a branded hotel, allowing Japanese city folk to experience a taste of the good life. People can book a stay at the Off White House on the website, and rooms are allocated via a lottery.

To promote the campaign Kirin created a video (above) that combines the footage taken by the drones, shots of the Off White House and animated segments that depict the pigeon family in classic Japanime style.

Kirin Off White beer will initially be available for sale only from the Lohaco online shopping site.


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Standing out / Party explained to Contagious that the low-malt beer market in Japan is highly competitive, adding that Kirin was determined to take a totally different approach for its low malt beer launch.

When it came to the sales channel, Kirin made a conscious effort to make the product available only on a limited scale. By doing this Kirin was able to make its off-white beer seem more exclusive than the existing products in this category. The campaign itself similarly helps the product stand out from competitors just by virtue of its uniqueness. This is after all a campaign that brings together drones, pigeons and a hotel: quite a combo!

The good life / Pigeons have little to do with beer, but the Po family of doves represents an idealistic country life. This taps into the Japanese trend for ‘short term stays’, which is how locals refer to weekend getaways to country estates. By creating the Off White House, Kirin not only creates a unique experience for its fans - in the same way that the Bud Hotel has done - but associates its brand with the country living, which is now in vogue. Drones, too, are all the rage in Japan at the moment. By anthropomorphising them, however, Kirin is able to retain its rustic country image rather bringing to mind the usual negative connotations of drones as evil spying software.

Off White House


This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact