kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology

Pigeon Drones, Beer, and the White House

What do pigeons, beer and The White House have in common? Well… nothing really, but Kirin Beer’s recent add campaign for “Off White”, their new low malt beer or happoushu(発泡酒)in Japanese, cleverly combines pigeon drones, a quaint white house in Taketa City Oita Prefecture, videography, an interactive app and website and more.

The add campaign, designed by Japanese interactive design agency IMG SRC, is an interesting and early example new advertising platforms that are emerging with the development of drones. It’s also the first example we’ve seen in Japan of drone-based-advertising integrated with other forms of advertising and technology.

The campaign consisted of using an old white house (strategically named the Off White House) in the small town of Taketa in Oita Prefecture as the backdrop for a story about a family of six pigeons that live in the house.

kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology
kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology

Smile! You’re being filmed by a pigeon drone.


kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology

Each of the pigeons were named and even given character backgrounds.

kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology

A camera was attached to each drone, err… pigeon and Kirin/IMG_SRC developed a free interactive app called “POTLINE” (ぽっとらいん)where people could set a date, time, and location to have have one of the pigeons come fly over to meet them. Each pigeon meet and greet was recorded using the attached cameras, documenting the journey along the way and the everyday life of the people in Taketa.

kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology
kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology

While POTLINE sounds more like a new business idea for Marijuanna dispensaries in California rather than an app for a Japanese Beer ad campaign, you have to admit it is a cool idea.

People could also experience living in the Off White House if they wanted to. Kirin/IMG SRC set up a website for the campaign that allowed people to view photos of both the inside and outside of the house. And for those who truly wanted to experience life in Taketa, a limited amount of reservations were made available to the public and people could book time to temporarily live in the house with the drone pigeons.

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A select few people that stayed in the Off White House documented and blogged about their experience, which was later uploaded to the site and used as part of the ad campaign.

kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology

One illustrator that stayed in the Off White House for 6 days blogged about her experience and illustrated the journey along the way.

kirin pigeon drones beer japanese design advertising technology

While the connection between pigeons and beer still remains fuzzy, one thing is clear; when it comes to making new technology cute, the Japanese are leading in the drone department. The Off White ad campaign was a offers insight to some of the new ways we will be seeing previous forms of design and technology integrated with new forms of advertising. Similar to the explosion of corporate Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, it might not be long until we start seeing Toyota and McDonalds drones flying around the skies demanding our attention for their newest product. Or this might just be an attempt to chip away at our ability to distinguish the difference between real animal and machine and we might all be spied on by pigeon drones in the near future…

Author Information


Eli Nygren is a graphic designer/project manager from Maui, Hawai'i. He is fluent in Japanese and English and is currently based in Tokyo. In addition to design, he loves music, camping, surfing, cooking and reading.

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