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For Its Swan Song, Droga5 Sydney Used Coasters to Solicit Ideas for a Brewer's Short Film


This was the last piece of work Droga5 Australia brought to life before shutting house. And however you might feel about the agency, it's a tribute to what it could have been, and to the idea that well-harnessed crowdsourcing can bear quite edible fruit. 

Maybe don't eat that flower, though. 

For the launch of Tiger White in Malaysia, Tiger Beer partnered with the star-crossed agency and production house The Sweet Shop to produce the first-ever film to be conceptualized and produced using beer coasters, with their boozy sketchers serving as the film's crew. 

In October and November, thousands of coasters were distributed across popular Malaysian bars, where would-be directors or stylists could scribble ideas while sloshed. Entries also appeared on TigerCoasterFilm.com, where you could follow the project's birth from scrawl to shooting.

And it wasn't just ideas that were crowdsourced; the entire film crew was, too. Winning ideators were assigned roles including director, scripwriters, actors, stylists, assistants and runners for the final production, taking cues from Baltasar Kormákur, best known for directing Everest.

"I've had to scale mountains and even swim in the North Atlantic Ocean for my other movies, but this is my first time to recruit people to make a film from beer coasters," Kormákur says.

The result, "Coaster," is a 14-minute thriller with enough gripping tropes to give Dan Brown tremors of jealousy: the old gangster made good, a sacrificial lamb, suspicious bodyguards and a charming, rags-to-riches talent bent toward one goal—revenge. The use of white in the film is often symbolic, notably appearing on a dead chick and a dress (no immediate relation). But the real "tiger white" in this story is a flower, hiding its venom behind a diminutive, fragile exterior. 

And, of course, there's the chef. Watch it below. 

There's nothing original in the story—it's work by committee, after all—but the watch goes down easy, is beautifully produced and comparable to pretty good Netflix fodder.

The film debuted in December in Kuala Lumpur, a month after Tiger White's launch in the country. Use of Tiger White in the final production is sparing: It appears in the kitchen, as handy proppage in a flashback and, naturally, in a painstakingly poured glass drunk by Gangster Dad on his birthday. And as far as Tiger Beer is concerned, it was a satisfying manifestation of the brand message. 

"We are delighted to unveil what is possibly the most revolutionary platform ever used to produce a film," says Tiger Beer global brand director Mie-Leng Wong. "We drafted regular bar hoppers and transformed them overnight into filmmakers, with white beer coasters serving as mini-screenplays, storyboards and entry forms." 

The chosen director, Cho We Jun, was a banker when he submitted his application, and has since quit his day job. "Not long ago I was working in a bank, following a path I didn't want to take," he says, adding that he'd made a few films before, but not at this scale. "We come from all walks of life—bankers, engineers, flight attendants—but we all stepped out of our comfort zones and produced something that we are all extremely proud of." 

"Our teams have spent considerable time in production across Asia, working on Tiger Beer," added David Nobay, then creative chairman of Droga5 Australia. "One thing really came through to us: Just how much creativity is alive and kicking on the streets, from Ho Chi Min to Hong Kong and Singapore. From fashion to technology, the region feels even more on fire right now. We were keen to put all that urgency and spontaneity to work across a single creative platform and we're really pleased how quickly Malaysia grabbed the baton."

While a few lucky bar hoppers drink to that, we'll pour one out for an agency that saved all its potency for the very end. 

Client: Heineken Asia Pacific/Tiger Beer
Product: Tiger White
Agency: Droga5, Sydney
Creative Chairman: David Nobay
Creative Director: Andy Fergusson
Copywriter: Gavin Chimes
Art Director: Leslie Sharpe    
Senior Business Director: Richard Sweetman
Head of Content: Holly Alexander                                    

Production Company: The Sweet Shop
Director: Cho We Jun           
Executive Producers: Wilf Sweetland, Daniel Ho
Director of Photography: Tan Teck Zee               
Art Director: Lee Tze Loong
Editor: Pan c/o VHQ Post
Postproduction: VHQ Malaysia
Sound Design, Remix: Add Audio Malaysia 

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