The arrival of spring is a time of endings as well as new beginnings in Japan, when (often lifelong) company employees aged 60 ride into the sunset of retirement.
A touching film sees Suntory insert its Boss canned coffee brand into one such scenario. Thankfully, the product placement is minimal.
Produced alongside Tokyo Metro, the video starts in documentary style, charting the life and times of a stationmaster, Koji Ishiyama, who is about to retire. While his work may seem humdrum, the film highlights the camaraderie behind the scenes. It culminates with Ishiyama’s colleagues surprising him with a tribute once his shift at the station ends, firstly through personalized electronic billboards, then in person with flowers and hugs.
Campaign’s view: It’s a genuine ‘feel good’ film that’s a natural fit for Boss, which positions itself as the ‘worker’s best friend’. We like that the brand apparently helped facilitate the send-off and then took a back seat, its only appearance being a can on the office desk and a logo at the end and lines that join in the tribute. It also taps into a social phenomenon as the traditional custom of lifetime employment continues to erode. Whether or not you believe in spending your entire career at a single company, it’s a timely reminder that work is in the end not just about work at all, but about the relationships you form along the way.
Celebrating unsung heroes resonates well, when it's done in a pure manner. Another recent piece of work we liked along these lines was Nissan's 'Caravanists'.