You're hot, you're tired, you're stressed out. You reach into the fridge for a cool one and eagerly pop the pull tab. Even before the brew reaches your lips, you're already starting to relax. . .
Knowing that sensation and sound can cause a pleasant Pavlovian response, Japanese toy maker Bandai has introduced a number of novelty items in recent years that let users endlessly relive the oddly satisfying and addicting sensation of squeezing, tearing and pulling everyday objects like bubble wrap, cookie packages and even edamame beans.
Now the company is targeting those who respond happily to the experience of opening beer cans.
Slated for release in June, Mugen (endless) Can Beerwill be available in any of four colors for less than the cost of a few containers of the real stuff (819 yen).
In Japan, soft drink manufacturers often use on-pack omake ("freebies") to promote repeat sales. Not too long ago, canned coffee maker UCC tied up with All Nippon Airways to release a series of mini figurines that showcased the evolution of uniforms worn by the airline's flight attendants (click photo for larger view). Between 1955 and 2005, ANA changed its uniforms nine times, so UCC created nine figurines for consumers to collect.
For an example of an on-pack promo executed by Coca Cola Japan's Georgia canned coffee, check out this earlier post.
About six months ago, Polaroid came out with a portable printer that uses Zink (Zero Ink) thermal printing technology, which combines a thermal print head and special paper that contains heat activated crystalline dyes. Think old-school Polaroid-style insta-printing, but updated for the 21st century. Except the camera and printer are separate.
The obvious next step? Why, putting the printing technology inside a digital camera, so people can enjoy printing anywhere, and the ability to store the image digitally for later transfer to your computer.
The surprise is that Japanese toy company, Takara Tomy, rather than Polaroid, is the one releasing this kind of camera first. It comes out tomorrow.
The new Xiao TIP-521, is a fixed-focus, 5 megapixel camera with 16 a 2.48 inch LCD display and a built-in printer that outputs 3x2 inch photos at 313 dpi (maximum digital image size is 2560 x 1920 pixels). Each picture takes about 45 seconds to print.
The camera weighs 294 grams, comes in three colors and costs about 35,000 yen.
During Japan's heady bubble era in the late 80's and early 90's, it seemed that every Japanese person I met proclaimed that golf was their favorite hobby. Then the bubble crashed and not a few Japanese companies went belly up—many because they had speculated in real estate, oftentimes investing in the plethora of new and exclusive golf courses being built around the country (many of those went belly up too). But when the cash dried up, it seemed like a lot of casual players lost interest; it was expensive to play and the courses were often crowded. Younger Japanese started spending their money elsewhere.
But in recent years, there's been a change. Golf has become cool again amongst some of Japan's most important trendsetters, otherwise known as OLs ("office ladies").
It used to be that you could visit any retailer in Japan and find a broad selection of single-use film cameras. But they've become rare these days since almost every Japanese cell phone comes pre-equipped with a camera of its own. Some have been saying that the disposable camera market is all but dead.
But hold on a minute. Plaza Create, owners of the (once) ubiquitous 55 Station printing chain, recently announced a new kind of single-use device that might inject a bit life into the market—if only for a short time.
Gucci isn't the only major foreign brand using QR codes in its Japanese advertising. Puma Japan's magazine ads also use them to nice effect (above ad edited by JMN to show closeup of QR code—click for enlarged view).
Never heard of QR codes? See how this cool technology is being used by other brands.