How Japan’s #1 canned coffee entered the US market
BOSS coffee recently went through an elaborate plan in January to hit the US market. When entering a new market you need a strong campaign that is going to set you apart. So, our client shared with us their ideas on how they wanted to market their product. They wanted to be known as a Japanese beverage that is targeted to healthy, active people. A can of coffee that is going to help people take on challenges and new experiences.
Coffee product photography gets easier with CGI
CGI (Computer Generated Images) technology has come a long way in recent years. With increasingly powerful computers, both hardware and software-wise, CGI images are beginning to resemble reality. If you take a look at our work for BOSS Coffee, you’ll see that still images can look very realistic, especially for hard surface products. CGI photography allows you to create all kinds of creative settings, from the safety of your office.
One of the biggest advantages of CGI photography is that it brings versatility to the creative process. First of all, we don’t need to have the products in physical form. All we need are reference images and the dimensions of the products. This way, we can create them to scale in a fraction of the time of traditional product photography.
If you or your agency is planning a coffee product photography campaign, you’ve come to the right place. By using CGI, we save time by skipping the real studio to photograph your products. We recreate the settings so we have full control over composition, lighting, background and depth of field.
You also have the advantage of unlimited modifications, as we can easily create renderings and videos animation from all possible angles, all with the convenience of powerful 3D software. So if you want to make small changes to the animation video for your product, for example, it’s relatively quick. That’s because we’ve already created the setup for your video, which is the most time-consuming process.
Creating coffee product photography for your website
If you are selling any type of product, you need to pay attention to your website. It needs to be professional, eye-catching, and capture the interest of customers. So it’s no surprise that this applies to coffee products as well. Part of our project with BOSS Coffee was to create CGI images (banners) for their e-commerce website. To meet our client’s expectations, we asked for reference images to better understand their aesthetic goals for the upcoming campaign.
From this “mood board” we gathered that they wanted to market their products look “Japanese-like”, high-end, and geared towards active people. We then created a total of 4 banners for our client as requested. Two of these were taken from an existing set-up we had created for their animation videos. As you can imagine, this saved us a lot of time as we didn’t have to create anything from scratch. That’s why CGI coffee product photography is so popular with business owners worldwide – it’s really versatile and creative.
One of the banners showed the product in a gym-like setup, with some dumbbells in the background. This banner is clearly aimed at healthy and active people, our client’s target audience. Then we created two CGI photos with the “Japan style” in mind.
The client wanted to convey to the US market that this coffee can is a product straight from Japan. So one of the banners shows an adorable origami style Akita Inu, Japan’s most famous dog breed, and the other shows Japan’s most famous tree, Sakura. The best part is that the latter is also taken from an existing set-up. The last banner shows the product on a coffee bag with the word Guatemala written on it. This is to remind the consumer that this is a high quality blend of coffee.
Labels and branding in coffee product photography
As you probably know, BOSS coffee is a Japanese brand. As a result, they have different product labels for the US and Japan. Thanks to CGI, we were able to create the same images and animation videos for both markets. There was no need to reshoot – we just had to change the label on the 3D model. This really shows how useful CGI can be in certain situations. If we had done the same campaign using traditional methods, it would have taken us significantly more time to complete.
It’s especially important to capture the label of the product and bring it into focus. In coffee product photography, you have to capture the product so that the label is clearly visible. Therefore, it is easy to understand that it needs to be bright and stand out from the rest of the scenery. This can prove challenging with steel cans like this, especially outside of the highly controlled environment of a studio.
Recycling same product images for amazon.com
As we mentioned earlier, part of the campaign was to create banners for the client’s website. Some of them we created from scratch, others we took from an animation setup. But BOSS coffee wanted to enter the American market, and there’s no better place to start than America’s sweetheart – amazon.com.
In fact, over 95 million Americans even have Prime memberships. That’s a whopping ⅔ of all Amazon shoppers in the US. So it’s also a place where you need to promote your product and make it pop. Luckily we had all the stills from the banners ready to go, we just needed to crop them to fit Amazon recommended dimensions.
Testing on Amazon showed the CGI images achieved engagement rates more than twice the average of the top performing 20 posts with traditional photography. (5.25% vs 2.26%)
Make your images move with 3D animation
One of the perks of CGI coffee product photography and videos is that they can be done remotely. We create the 3D models and place them in desired scenes and setups. For the first 3D product animation, we wanted to let the US market know that this is the same canned coffee they would find in Japan. So we combined Japan’s most famous elements, the Sakura tree, and the traditional Shoji door. We placed the product in direct focus, with these two elements behind it, reminding the viewers of its origin.
For the second one, they wanted to focus on something else entirely. The key focus is that this coffee can contain a blend of 7 different types of coffee beans all from Guatemala. We placed the 3D model on a background full of coffee bags and beans. As for the ground, we used the iconic burlap bag texture with a big “Guatemala” inscription.
The video begins top-down, with the viewer seeing the top of the can and the inscription. Then, it quickly switches to horizontal view, capturing the viewer’s attention. For this part, we animated 7 coffee beans swirling above the can, making the viewer think of the 7 different types of beans used for this blend. The fact that this video got so popular that the cans sold out after the campaign premiered proves how amazing this project was.
The purpose of the third and last animation was to communicate that this brand of coffee is reliable. So, we animated a scene of a Japanese side road with a vending machine sitting at the end of it. Vending machines are a very common sight in Japan and it’s where most people buy their beverages. We animated a whole day cycle. Even when the sun was down and the lights out, the vending machine was still there. This signifies people’s 24h need for coffee and the brand’s reliability.
We really enjoyed working on this project and helping a brand expand its market is always an interesting thing to do. This project really proves how effective CGI coffee product photography was for this client. Not only did they enter a whole new market, but they also managed to sell their whole stock over one video!