Ad Nut
May 22, 2019

Crossover hit: US brewery highlights songs that were 'Big in Japan'

See if you can solve the musical puzzles in this ingenious campaign, then use the QR codes to see if you were right.

Crossover hit: US brewery highlights songs that were 'Big in Japan'

Marking a beer release for the US and Japan markets, New York brewery SingleCut Beersmiths worked with the consistently brilliant Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo to create a brilliant series of musical puzzles in a campaign involving QR codes and Spotify.

See if you can puzzle out what relatively well-known song is being represented in each of the images below. When you're ready to guess, use the QR code in the center to find out if you're right. You should be taken to a Spotify playlist where the answer is the leadoff track. In three out of the four cases, the answer is a version of the famous song that was actually recorded live in Japan.

If you need hints, click "See clues" under each image. Ad Nut had a little trouble getting the QR codes to activate. Moving the phone back and forth helped, but just in case (and for those of you reading this on mobile), Ad Nut has also included "See answer" links to the playlists.

Here we go. Ad Nut got three out of the four. Was stymied by the last one and then felt stupid.

The brand points out that many rock bands have made it ‘Big in Japan' before really taking off in their native lands. The campaign is a way for SingleCut Beersmiths, which calls itself a "rock-themed craft brewery in NYC", to pay tribute to this phenomenon.

The campaign marks the release of an IPA called, no surprises, 'Big in Japan'. 

“Japan’s highly creative gaming culture has been exported around the globe for decades,” Rich Buceta, founder and head brewer, said in a media release. “We loved the idea of turning our product into a music trivia game with QR codes, knowing how wildly popular they are in Japan.”

Zulu Alpha Kilo created the entire integrated campaign, including the package design and digital content. In Tokyo, the brand said, it is promoting the 'Big in Japan' beer in the "growing craft beer scene".

This campaign video explains the game, but also pretty much gives away some of the answers:

The campaign also includes an Instagram game:

Here's a poster:

This QR Code for the campaign leads to a SingleCut-owned site:

It pretty much goes without saying that Ad Nut absolutely loves this. How could you not? Now, if you'll excuse Ad Nut, Ad Nut is off to spend the afternoon drinking beer and listening to Cheap Trick records. 


Client: SingleCut Beersmiths
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Creative Director: Zak Mroueh
Design Director: Ryan Booth
Writer: Vinay Parmar 
Art Director: Kevin Sato
Illustrator: Ty Dale, Kevin Sato
Strategist: Spencer MacEachern, Stephanie Gyles
Account Team: Erin McManus
Senior Producer: Teresa Bayley
Producer: Houng Ngui
Studio Director: Greg Heptinstall
Production Artist: Anna Harju, Brandon Dyson, Ashleigh O’Brien
Animator: Andrew Martin

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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