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 the past few years. With computers getting more powerful both hardware and software-wise, CGI images are starting to resemble reality. In fact, if you take a look at our work for BOSS Coffee, you’ll see that the still photographs can look very realistic especially on hard surface products. CGI photography allows you can create all sorts of creative settings, from the safety of your office.
One of the biggest advantages of CGI photography is that it brings versatility into the creative process. First of all, we don’t need to have the products in physical form. All we need is reference pictures and the products’ dimensions. That way, we can create them true to size in a fraction of time of traditional product photography.
In case you or your agency are planning for coffee product photography campaign, you’ve come to the right place. With the use of CGI we save time since we skip the real-life studio in order to photograph your products. We recreate these settings, so we have full control of the composition, lighting, background and the depth of field.
Plus, you get the benefit of unlimited modifications too, since we can easily make renderings and videos animation from all sorts of angles – all within the comfort of a powerful 3D software. So, if, for example, you want any small tweaks on your product’s animation video, this can be done fairly quickly. That’s because we have already created the setup for your video, which is the most time-consuming process.
Creating coffee product photography for the website
When you’re selling any type of product, you need to pay attention to your website. You need it to be professional and eye-catching, capturing the consumers’ interest. So, it’s no surprise that the same thing is true for coffee products. One part of our project with BOSS Coffee was creating banner CGI photographs for their e-commerce website. In order to match our client’s expectations, we asked for the reference images to better understand their aesthetic goals for the upcoming campaign.
From this “mood board” we gathered that they want to market their product as “Japanese”, high-quality, and targeted to active people. We then created 4 banners in total for our client as requested. Two of them were taken from an already existing set-up that we created for their animation videos. As you can imagine, this saved us plenty of time since we didn’t have to make anything from scratch. That’s why CGI coffee product photography is so loved by business owners worldwide – it’s really versatile and creative.
One of the banners featured the product in a gym-like setup, with some dumbells in the background. Clearly, this banner is targeted to healthy and active people, our client’s target group. Then, we created two CGI photographs with the “Japan style” in mind.
The client wanted to make it known to the US market that this can of coffee is a product straight from Japan. So, one of the banners features an adorable origami-style Akita Inu, Japan’s most famous dog breed, and the other has Japan’s most famous tree, Sakura. The best part is that the latter was also taken from an existing set-up. As for the last banner, it features the product on top of a coffee bag with the word Guatemala written on it. This is to remind the consumer that this is a high-quality coffee blend.
Labels and branding in coffee product photography
As you probably know, BOSS coffee is a Japanese brand. Thus, 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 – all we had to do was change the label on the 3D model. It really comes to show how useful CGI can be in certain situations. If we had done the same campaign, but with traditional methods, it would have taken us significantly more time to finish it.
Capturing the product’s label and bringing it to focus is especially important. In coffee product photography, you need to capture the product in such a way that the label is clearly visible. Hence, it’s easy to understand that it needs to be bright and stand out from the rest of the scenery. This might prove to be a challenge for steel cans like this one, especially outside a studio’s heavily controlled environment.
Recycling the same product images for amazon.com
As we mentioned before, part of the campaign was to make banners for the client’s website. Some of them we created from scratch, while others we captured from an animation set-up. 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 a prime membership. That’s a whopping ⅔ of Amazon’s total shoppers in the USA. Thus, it’s also a place where you need to advertise your product and make it pop. Thankfully, we had all the stills ready from the banners, all we had to do was crop them to fit Amazon’s 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!