Ad of the Day: Sony Plays Pachelbel’s Canon Using the Sounds of Japanese Rivers

Sequel of sorts to 'Xylophone'

The hills were alive with the sound of music. Now, it's the rivers.

Morihiro Harano, aka "Mori," the creative director behind 2011's stunning "Xylophone" spot for Japanese telecom NTT DoCoMo, is back with a sequel of sorts—though he's now at a different agency and working for a different client.

The earlier spot, which earned two gold Lions and one silver at Cannes for Tokyo agency Drill, featured a gorgeous 50-yard-long wooden xylophone, tilted down a hillside, which perfectly played Bach's Cantata 147 when a wooden ball was rolled down it (to advertise the wooden casing around Sharp's Touch Wood SH-08C handset). Mori has since opened his own agency, Mori Inc., and now he has teamed up with some of the talent from Drill to produce a new nature-based spot—this time for Sony, using water rather than wood.

The new ad features gorgeous footage of the riverhead area in Kumamoto on the Japanese island of Kyushu. As with the earlier spot, the new one is all about sound—it uses water sounds recorded around the area to play a version of Pachelbel's Canon.

What's the connection to the product? "Sony's image sensors are refined using pure natural water, which makes it possible to capture the highest standard of visual images," says a note at the end. That's a slimmer connection than before—and the spot isn't as powerful as "Xylophone," which after all had the incredible instrument as its centerpiece, giving it a grandeur and single-mindedness that the new ad can't match.

But "Water Rock" is still a lovely piece of work—ambitious and artistic. And like the previous spot, there's a charity element here as well, which is mentioned at the end. For more, check out the making-of video, also posted below.


Client: Sony

Creative Agency: Mori + Drill

Production Company: Engine Plus + Drawing and Manual + Invisible Design Lab

Creative Director: Morihiro Harano (Mori)

Art Director: Jun Nishida (Drill)

Copywriters: Morihiro Harano, Ankur Rander (Mori)

Music: Shinya Kiyokawa, Kenjiro Matsuo (Invisible Designs Lab)

Director: Seiichi Hishikawa (Drawing and Manual)

Cinematographers: Eitaro Yamamoto (Shadow-Dan), Seiichi Hishikawa, Yutaka Obara (Drawing and Manual)

Recordist: Toshiro Matsumoto

Offline Editors: Seiichi Hishikawa, Yutaka Obara (Drawing and Manual), Ryosei Suzuki

Online Editor: Hitoshi Kimura (Book)

Mixer: Kazue Akiyama (Book)

Production Designer: Ken Yamada (Beard)

Project Manager: Motoko Shimizu (Mori)

Production Manager: Shinji Urano (Engine Plus)

Producers: Toshifumi Oiso (Engine Plus), Takashi Ueno (Drawing and Manual)