How to increase awareness for global issues: Donation bottles

Mainichi Newspaper in Japan wanted to do more than just reporting world issues. They wanted to take action to solve them.

The newspaper came with the brilliant idea of "donation bottles". Water bottle packages are designed as Mainichi newspaper articles that report world issues. Each bottle has a newspaper article on a different global issue.

The income from these bottles are used to support people affected by the issue.

They worked with the agency Dentsu Japan for this campaign.

2020 Summer Olympics Host City: Tokyo

Tokyo will host 2020 International Summer Olympics. In addition to their solid presentation, they prepared a short but impressive bid video for the challenge. Instead of showing the touristic side of the city, Japanese committee decided to stress the olympic spirit of Tokyo and their sportsmen. When you take into account that Olympics is a sports organization first of all, it is way more clever to show the fair-play, olympic-friendly side of a city.
Congratulations, Tokyo! 

My Way of Celebrating 2013

"My way of celebrating 2013: Search on" by Google Mobile Search.
Japanese mobile market is very competitive and Yahoo! had an advantage in Japanese mobile search market thanks to its collaboration with mobile operators. But now, Google is changing the game.

Virtual Singer - Real Fans: Hatsune Miku! (初音ミク)

In March 2010, there was the news that 10.000 tickets of Hatsune Miku concert were sold out. Interesting part was not the tickets being sold out but the concert itself; Hatsune Miku was not a "real person" at all. As expected, Japanese fans of Hatsune Miku filled the concert hall and singed the songs together with their pop idol.
Hatsune Miku (初音ミク) is a vocaloid (vocal + android) developed by Crypton Future Media and her voice is sampled by the Japanese vocal Saki Fujita. It is basically a music software and all you have to do is to give her the music & lyrics and she will sing for you. But beyond being a music software, Hatsune Miku managed to become a pop idol and the sound of future. (Hatsune means first sound and Miku means future in Japanese.)

Some might think that Japanese people are different in terms of "being fan of something" but behind Hatsune Miku is a great marketing strategy to be stressed. Crypton cooperated with different companies & media…

10 years with Toshiba LED

An emotional and impressive way of explaining long lifetime of LED bulbs.
Outdoor version of this campaign won Cannes Lions Gold Award in 2011.

P.S: 日 (nichi) means "day" in Japanese.

Even IKEA can fail

In 1974, Swedish giant IKEA decided to enter Japanese market with a local partner. It failed to win Japanese consumers' heart and withdrew in 1986. But their second attempt in 2006 is a success story. 

Let's see why.

Story of Failure

One of the most characteristic features of IKEA is "Assemble Yourself" philosophy which reduces costs and results in low prices. Even their marketing statement is:

“Your partner in better living. We do our part, you do yours. Together we save money.” 

Another characteristic feature of IKEA is its standardized product range which changes only 10% in different countries, in other words 90% of its product range is almost the same all over the world.
When they entered to Japanese market in 1974, they have only been in 4 other European countries yet. This was their first attempt outside Europe and although they lacked experience, they were quite sure that IKEA's unique philosophy would work well everywhere. They didn't think that any deep c…

Get 25% discount if you live on 1st floor !!

Are you a department manager? Do you wear glasses? Are you a middle school second class student? Do you live on first floor? Are you single? Do you have a good heart? Is your last name Maeda?

If you answer "yes"to one of these questions, then go to Dominos Coupon Festival  Page ( , tweet your type (or enter status on Facebook) and get 25% discount special for you!!!

Currently, most popular discount types are "Wearing glasses" and "Living on first floor" !

A very entertaining and simple campaign mechanism from Dominos Pizza Japan. It is very well integrated to social media which you can follow instantly.

What I really liked about the campaign:

1. Customized offer attracts attention: If you live on 1st floor or if you are single, it just attracts you.

2. Create Buzz: Many news sites and people talk about the campaign although it is just a discount campaign after all.

3. Social Media - Offline Integration: Consumers announce their Domin…

Future by Toyota

This must be future; integrating social media, instant information flow, customized product and fun.

A great futuristic video presented in Tokyo Motor Show 2011.

When is it the "future"?

Here is a Sony TV commercial from 1988. Mr. Choromatsu, the meditating monkey, brought Sony the best commercial award in 1988. The narrator asks, "On which point does it become "future?". When do you think?

With all my respect to old Sony Walkman and Mr.Choromatsu, who passed away in 2007.

Fireworks and Japanese companies - Events and Brands (2/2)

One of the best ambiances in Japan are the Firework festivals (hanabi) held in summer. Every year, people wear yukatas (kimono-like, light, traditional costumes), gather with friends and watch amazing fireworks while drinking.

Biggest firework festival, Sumida River Firework Festival in Tokyo with 20.000 fireworks attracts thousands of tourists and millions of people to the riverside to watch this great event. And as you might expect, there is a huge economy behind this event. The total expenditure is about 200 million JPY ( 2.6 million dollars) for 2 hours of firework show. This cost is sponsored by local ward offices, TV station and private corporations. Many Japanese firms are willing to sponsor this huge festival to be attached with this highly emotional, attractive and charming experience.

There are also many local hanabi festivals sponsored by local firms. For every firework a company's name is announced  during the show so that they can increase their awareness in the neighbo…

Events and Brands (1/2)

There are too many ads around and consumers find very effective ways of escaping from them. People feel bombarded with ads. Hence, conventional ways of advertising is much more difficult compared to past. 

Therefore, many companies are trying to get into consumers' mind by using non-commercial or subliminal ways. They aim to increase "preference" and "attachment" secretly by being involved in stuff people like or feel attached. Some of the best examples of these are "Coca-Cola and Happiness" or "Heineken and Football". Social responsibility campaigns, festivals, scholarships and all non-commercial ways have been gaining more and more share in advertisement budgets of companies. One one hand, you might argue that it is not sincere. But on the other hand, many companies are doing good things for the society by getting involved in these organizations. Better than nothing.

One of these non-commercial ways is music events. Many companies are trying…

Big in Japan!

This time the successful outdoor media usage comes from Swedish TV Show "Stor i Japan" (Big in Japan) broadcasted on TV6 in Sweden.

They built a billboard with Japanese "fan girls" screaming and taking photos whenever you stand in front of the billboard. An advertisement you can't ignore.

Most of the time we don't even notice outdoor ads unless they are "huge" or interactive. I believe that the future lies in interactive (and digital, probably) advertisement where the consumer is a part of the game. "Augmented reality" or "holographic screens" are just initial examples of these.

By the way, the work below belongs to Le Bureau, Stockholm, Sweden.

Ask the milk!

Here is the three episodes of "Ask the milk" campaign started by Japan Dairy Council in 2008.
They are still active and trying to make Japanese youth drink milk.

First one says "milk makes you powerful", second one says "milk makes you beautiful" and third one says "milk increases concentration" (which is my favorite).

Let's see if it is true:

250 KM Wave of Celebration

The new 250 km Kyushu line of shinkansen (bullet train) is celebrated by 30.000 residents!

People prepared great stuff only to be live for one second!!

This work won 2 silver medals in Cannes 2011. (best use of media & product and service)

How can you relate Castrol engine oil with soccer?

Castrol Oil and 2010 South Africa World Cup Sponsorship. 

How can you relate these two, make a campaign, create PR with a story and draw public attention where people are not interested in football ? No need to say, they had limited budget.
Here is the Japanese answer ICHI-GO from Ogilvy Japan:

Masterpiece from NTT Docomo

social responsibility. 
creativity.  a simple idea and a great art-work. 
NTT Docomo's xylophone:
"Forests need periodic thinning to grow healthy woods and remain productive. Docomo used the waste wood for its cellphones shown at the end of the CM. The wood used for the xylophone was also from waste wood, re-used for something else later.It shows the beauty of nature and a group of people collaboratively producing art from nature by relying on their imagination and careful hard work, a message for all of us. This was an un-aired phantom CM thatwon three prizes at the Cannes."

Gold Outdoor Cannes Lion Award: Toshiba LED With 10 Years of Life

Award-winning outdoor advertisement by Toshiba. Apartment block windows resemble days of the month: Toshiba LED with 10 years of life ! (by Dentsu Tokyo)

Inspiring Twitter Campaign from Nike Japan

Nike had launched a global "Write the future" campaign before World Cup 2010 and published a fantastic movie starring Rooney. And they won Grand Prix award in Cannes Lions 2011.

As a part of "Write the future" campaign, Nike Japan started a campaign and asked people to tweet their support messages for Japanese National Team for FIFA World Cup 2010. Best messages were carved on a life-size statue of Tulio Tanaka, one of the most popular players of Japan, and it was placed in front of Nike store at Harajuku, Tokyo. There were cameras capturing when a winning message was carved on the statue.

Tulio says:

"I am Japanese.
Everything starts now.
The world will take notice and doubt will be erased.
I am a defender that will attack in a split second.
Prayers will be answered.
One moment will last for eternity.
One game.
One play.
And everything will change.
Marcus Tulio Tanaka
Write the future."

And here is the award-winning Nike commercial if you 
haven't seen ye…

Your Favorite Anime Character Shaves with Schick. What About You?

Anime, Japanese art of animation, is spreading all around the world and becoming very popular recently.
As you might expect, anime and manga are very popular in Japan, as well. It is very common to see  a Japanese businessmen wearing a suit and reading manga in the train. And there is a huge literature of Manga and Anime, for every taste.

Schick Japan have used characters of "One Piece", a very popular Japanese anime, for their new shaver campaign. You can have different "One Piece" promotion materials as well as a "One Piece" Shaver Stand:

Many Japanese promotional campaigns love to stress that the campaign is "limited" (gentei seihin), which is very effective in Japan. Japanese consumers love to rush to products. For instance, you can see girls lined up in front of a Louis Vitton shop for a special product.

There are QR code stickers on products and if you read them with a smartphone tag reader (everyone in Japan has one as default) , enter your d…

Sapporo: Legendary Japanese Beer in Canada!

Sapporo is one of the most popular beer brands in Japan and it is brewed in Canada. In order to increase awareness in Canadian market, Sapporo started a campaign "Legendary Biru" with the following commercial and the game.

Main idea of the campaign was to introduce the brewing process behind Sapporo. But the details about the Japanese culture in the video is amazing and it is a very successful example of connecting two concepts to each other : Japanese culture - Japanese Beer. Canadians would probably never forget Sapporo's heritage after watching this commercial in which the brewing process is told as a visual show.

Glen Hunt, creative catalyst at ad agency Dentsu Canada, says that “We wanted something distinctly Sapporo and wanted to go through the heritage and the brewing process and combine the Japanese flavour but take it beyond sushi and make it mainstream” . And they definitely did.

The game is about finding a sage on the island. You look for scrolls in the screen wh…