England rugby players are samurais prepping for battle in lavish World Cup ad

O2 spot from VCCP and directed by Sam Brown drops ahead of games' kick-off in Japan

Published On
Sep 18, 2019

Editor's Pick

U.K. advertisers have been keen to come up with inventive takes on Japanese culture in the run-up to the Rugby World Cup this year taking place in Japan. So far we've seen Guinness document a little-known women's rugby team from Japan, while broadcaster ITV gave us a dazzling anime-inspired spectacular

Now here's a blockbuster spot from mobile brand O2, sponsor of the England rugby team, which dresses the team in customized Samurai armor and sends them out to battle. Directed by Rogue Films' Sam Brown for VCCP, it features England captain Owen Farrell alongside teammates Maro Itoje, Jonny May, Ben Youngs, Courtney Lawes and Elliot Daly. Mysterious riders burst into a remote forest settlement to rouse its shadowy inhabitants into action, following them through the forging and fitting of the armor, adorned with the rose logo of the England rugby team. The tagline is "Be their armour."

The lavish film was eight months in the making, and according to the agency, O2 worked with teams in Japan, costume designers and historical experts, culminating in a shoot with over 150 extras and horseback riders.  

As part of the campaign, O2  also unveiled "Travel fan In Japan," a six-episode content series, featuring former rugby player-turned-pundit Ugo Monye and TV personality Jamie Laing.  Each episode explores a characteristic of what it means to be an international rugby player via five elements of the Bushido code  tied to Samurai culture: respect; integrity; duty; loyalty; and courage.


Sep 18, 2019
Client :
Agency :
Executive Creative Director :
Darren Bailes
Creative Director :
Jim Capp
Creative :
James Rafter
Creative :
Myles Vincent
Agency :
Rose Bartel
Account Director :
Matt Flint
Account Director :
Emma Russell
Agency Producer :
Ed Mueller
Director :
Sam Brown
Film Production :
Rogue Films
Producer :
Emma Butterworth
Executive Producer :
James Howland
Cinematography :
Jamie Feliu Torres
Costume Designer :
Rosa Dias
Editor :
Tim Thornton-Allan
Edit :
Marshall Street Editors
Post Production :
The Mill
Producer :
James Beck
Executive Producer :
Alex Fitzgerald
Georgie Ford
Colorist :
Adam Scott
Colorist :
Seamus O’Kane
Sound Design & Mix :
Anthony Moore
Sound Design & Mix :
Audio Producer :
Lucy Spong
Music Supervision :
Chris Phelps
Music Supervision :
Finger Music
Photographer :
Dean Rogers
Agent :
Visual Artists
Creative Producer :
Ali Power
Designer :
Adam Edwards

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