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.