Houston Helm Raises a Glass to ‘Sushi Bar Beer’

Print, Outdoor for Kirin Takes Japanese Tradition to American Bars
LOS ANGELES–Houston Helm Fattal & Collins capitalizes on the culture-mixing “fusion” trend in bars in a new series of print and outdoor ads for Kirin beer.
The ads, which break this month, take a tongue-in-cheek approach, mixing Japanese tradition with standard bar imagery. Spending on the campaign is $2-3 million, according to industry estimates.
One print execution depicts the view from outside a traditional American sports bar. Seen through the window are a dart board and patrons seated at tables. Outside the bar is a line of men’s and women’s shoes, left as though outside the front door of a Japanese house. Copy below reads, “Now available outside the sushi bar.” The Kirin logo and bottles of the beer appear to the left.
“We found that consumers saw [Kirin] as the ‘sushi bar beer,'” said Hunter Phillips, the agency’s executive vice president, account services and planning. “We now wanted to start leveraging the Japanese heritage, and give people permission to drink Kirin outside the sushi bar.”
Another print ad shows a foosball table, but with sumo wrestlers instead of soccer players. A third ad shows a dart board with ninja stars stuck in it instead of darts.
The ads break this month in national golf and other sports publications.
Outdoor ads with a similar theme will appear this summer on the West Coast. They will carry the line “Coming to a bar near you.”
The Los Angeles agency has also designed golf range tee dividers which read, “Now available at the nineteenth hole,” with the image of a samurai sword-handled golf club.
Creative director Dan Mountain developed the campaign, along with copywriter Jeff Jenks and art director Dave Gassman.