TWO FOR TEA
Beverage makers Kirin and Suntory are aiming to boost sales of non-Japanese tea drinks with ad campaigns centered around food.
Late last spring a Suntory Oolong Tea campaign was launched underscoring the connection between “food” and “beauty,” taking advantage of a concept that is gaining momentum in the Japanese market today. Teaming up with fashion magazine Anan, Suntory held a contest encouraging people to eat delicious food and drink their tea. Anan is calling beautiful people who equate food with beauty tabekawa. By using Japanese celebrity model Anne—a woman who says she loves to eat—to represent the effort, Anan and Suntory are defying the usual perceptions that dictate that dieting is a key to being beautiful.
Kirin is taking a similar direction by making food a prominent part of its campaign for the release of a new plain tea. The Gogo no Kocha line “Plain” tea ad encourages consumers to combine their sugarless tea with fresh and wholesome food. Indeed, increased interest in local products and agriculture has been on the rise in Japan since last fall, so Kirin might be on to something.
MEN WANT GOOD SKIN TOO
Manufacturer Daikin is looking to attract male consumers for a type of product typically associated with women. Its air conditioning system “Ururu & Sarara” is meant to aid skin through hydration by monitoring humidity and temperature. Their choice for sponsor is 20-something actor Shunsuke Daito, a self-professed skincare fanatic.
By participating in a campaign like this Daito is also, in part, complicit in highlighting a generation of young men interested in sweet foods and looking good—sometimes even to the point of being a bit “girly.” But this new generation isn’t embarrassed about this increasingly dainty profile.
In fact, when asked at the press conference what he thought about the possibility of going too far in his interest in skincare—above and beyond some girls—Daito paused before saying, “But, it’s not a bad thing.”
WHEN YOU’VE GOT TO GO
Constipation medicine campaigns have to take a sensitive line when communicating benefits, but if all else fails, there’s always humor.
Surulac by SSP launched an online campaign this summer that prompted users to virtually write on a piece of toilet paper the things they want to “let go of,” a humorous play on words that simultaneously poked fun at the company’s own product. To top it off, the messages are even “flushed” down a toilet on the website.
Consumers got a chance to win prizes and had the ability to view the notes uploaded by other users who wanted to let go of things like “my icky skin” and “when I accidentally called someone else Mom.” The site even listed how much toilet paper in meters has been used.
The key here is a sense of participation: The campaign simultaneously engaged consumers while letting them have a laugh either at their own or someone else’s expense.
Ryoma Sakamoto, a samurai of historic note, has been wildly popular in Japan this year, coming on the heels of the NHK drama “Ryomaden.” The trend of rekijo or “history girls,” a surge in young women who love history, is also contributing to the boom.
The result is a wide and never-ending variety of goods ranging from Ryoma bento boxes and Ryoma water to Ryoma boots, all of which can found in department and convenience stores and museums all throughout Japan. Until next February a Nagasaki “Ryoma Gallery” is showcasing photographs and information about his life.
Sightseeing companies are taking advantage of the fact that Ryoma traveled far across Japan, with packages around places like Shikoku, Nagasaki and Kyoto. Even chocolate manufacturer Lotte is following in Ryoma’s footsteps with the release of “Ryoma-flavored” sweets representing his travels.
WALKING IS THE NEW JOGGING
Walking has emerged as an active new trend to keep pace with that of jogging. Kao held a summer campaign urging consumers to walk at least 10,000 steps a day, the recommended amount for a healthy lifestyle, while drinking their green tea beverage Healthya, said to boost metabolism. Users could then go online to input their daily amount, which is converted into distances before being given to a virtual on-screen character. The character is then seen “walking” across Japan.
Consumers may be drawn to walking as a relaxing way to take a time-out from their busy day while getting a good form of free daily exercise.
Mobile phone providers are capitalizing on this boom and many handsets now include pedometers. Docomo’s recently launched service “i Bodymo” utilizes the pedometer function to provide consumers with data on their daily walking habits and even give advice.
In fact, popular singer Crystal Kay stormed the media in June to declare her love of walking. She said she spends hours each week strolling through Tokyo. She showcased her favorite walking shoes to prove it, and even credited her new hobby as the key to her good looks and healthy body.
Nicole Fall is co-founder of Tokyo-based innovation and trend-forecasting agency Five by Fifty. She can be contacted at: email@example.com