Been so busy these past few weeks I didn't get a chance to mention this ground-breaking new media that appeared on Tokyo trains about a month ago.
Japanese printing companies have started offering advertisers the ability to display moving pictures on paper advertisements.
The above ad announces the debut of a new mascara from Lancome that uses a vibrating applicator brush. The poster is made from electronic paper—a technology that allows paper to be written and rewritten repeatedly. So what you're looking at is essentially a paper poster hanging from the ceiling of a subway train in which the image changes.
Similarly some train stations are now equipped with poster banks for electronic paper ads that can refresh with new images at specific intervals. If you're an advertiser and you rent the space, you can replace the ad whenever you want while sitting right at your office desk, since the wall frames are connected to PHS phone networks that tap into the internet.
As I was watching this year's summer Olympics I was grabbed by a series of TV commercials for the Yomiuri Shinbun, Japan's highest-circulation national newspaper. You can imagine how surprised, then delighted I was as the male character in this spot kept popping up during the synchronized swimming routine.
Without going through the trouble of translating the whole thing, the idea was very simple. The Yomiuri's reporters are so dedicated that they'll stay right on top of the action to bring you outstanding coverage of the Olympics.
Japanese advertising often takes a quirky turn, but in many cases, it's off strategy or self-indulgent. This one is offbeat and funny, but it does exactly what it's supposed to do: catch your attention, deliver a clear message, and stick in your memory.
The spot is still on the Yomiuri website. Watch it here.
No matter where you turn in the land of the rising sun, you see people staring into their cell phones. Just what are Japanese users doing, besides surfing the web, exchanging e-mail, and looking at photos and video they've shot?
Last month, NetAsia Research conducted a survey amongst 444 people in their teens, 20's and 30's (49.8% male, 50.2% female).
Amongst the questions:
Which of the following rich content do you look at on your cell phone? (Indicate all that apply)
Choices: "1 Seg" (One Seg) broadcasts, video sharing sites, anime, celebrity promotion videos, cell phone novels, cell phone comics.
Earlier this year, Dentsu published its annual facts and figures on advertising spending in Japan. It's probably no surprise to anyone that the spend on Internet advertising grew at a much faster pace than that of any other medium. As the graph shows, the media spend on Internet ads grew 24% from 2006 to 2007, and for the first time, exceeded expenditures on magazine advertising.
As for other media, here's a quick rundown of how spending fell/rose for each:
Despite these developments, it will likely be some time before Internet ads dominate overall spending. In 2007, Internet advertising accounted for 8.6% of total ad/promotion costs, compared with 28.5% for TV commercials and 13.5% for newspaper ads.
TV broadcasters everywhere have been wringing their hands as consumers spend ever-increasing time on the Internet and away from their TV sets.
But here in Japan, one of Japan's major networks, TBS, has launched a promotion to lure viewers back. Surprisingly, they're doing it with the cooperation of Yahoo Japan, the country's leading net portal.
The plan is centered around TBS' new baseball-themed drama called "Rookies," which is now in pre-production. The creators have deliberately delayed casting some of the roles, which are going to be filled by aspiring actors, who are being encouraged to submit self-made audition tapes for review on a special Yahoo Japan site. Yahoo users will then be asked to view the auditions and vote for their favorites—and these new actors will be cast in roles on the show. Additionally, users are also being encouraged to vote to help select one of the starring roles, which is still up for grabs amongst 15 celebrity models and actresses.
Rookies is slated to air on TBS beginning in April.
- The latest in Japan's never-ending stream of magazine launches came off the other day when the Japanese version of the popular Australian fashion journal RUSSH was released on October 27. RUSSH, which is only about three years old, distinguishes itself from other fashion publications by reporting almost exclusively on the lifestyle and fashion choices of models—an approach which is sure to appeal to Japan's celebrity and model conscious magazine readers. This is the first time RUSSH has published a localized version in a foreign market.
- Speaking of first time launches in foreign markets, Paris' wildly popular gelato purveyor DELIZIEFOLLIE is opening its first shop anywhere outside France tomorrow in Shibuya. DELIZIEFOLLIE was founded in Paris by Gaeta Pellegrino, whose family has been involved in the gelato industry for two centuries. Since the brand is new to Japan, we haven't had the chance to sample any of their frozen delights — but if they taste as good as they look on the the Japanese website, the lines here are likely to be as long as they are in Paris. DELIZIEFOLLIE is located in Shibuya on the first floor of the Parco Zerogate Building, which can be found on the street that runs between Seibu Department Stores' buildings A and B, as you proceed toward Tokyu Hands from the direction of JR Shibuya Station (or if you prefer, at the foot of Spain-zaka).
Here's a clever bit of advertising for Bessatsu Takarajima, Takarajima Publishing's imprint that specializes in educational materials. It ran in 2004—which as you may recall—was the year bird flu panic was spreading in Asia.
The copy reads "The birds didn't know. Now, more than ever, knowledge will save you."
The ad won an Asahi Newspaper Advertising Prize in 2005. Click on the image for a better view.
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