Thursday, December 1, 2011

Vending machine: Books :-)

ave you ever experienced standing at a train platform and realizing that you have forgotten your book? Often it is already to late visiting the next shop.

Japan is famous for their vending machines and I was already amazed that you can purchase hot drinks from these machines in winter time

When I saw the first time this book-vending machine at a train platform, I was even more amazed. I think it is a brilliant idea.

Have a nice Christmas Season!


Monday, November 7, 2011


Halloween was not celebrated in Japan until recent years, but now it's becoming popular year after year and is also used for marketing purposes.

Department stores sell Halloween decorations, costumes and also sweets. Everywhere you look it's Halloween.
But for me the most interesting part is how for example bakeries change their products for Halloween. You find cookies and sweets with orange colour and "Halloween decoration". Tee shops sell special Halloween tea and this year I saw a fresh juice store which sold "Halloween Juice", which had the look of blood.
Japanese people buy, buy and buy and every year more creative ideas how to use Halloween for marketing campaigns/promotions can be found, at least in Tokyo.

Hope you enjoyed Halloween as well ;-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

KitKat in Japan

We all know KitKat by Nestlé, but in Japan much more flavors than in other countries can be found. This is a special approach and positions them in a special way.

Some flavors can be only bought in certain areas in Japan (28 different kind) and others are only available during a certain period (3 different kind). Also for only purchasing a special KitKat flavor was invented

Here are some examples:

KitKat with Zunda flavor, made of green beans and a popular flavor for people in Tohoku Area (North Eastern Japan). Additionally 10 yen from each purchase of this KitKat is going to be donated.

KitKat with Wasabi flavor, which is only available in Shizuoka and Kanto(greater Tokyo) area.

KitKat with Kobe Pudding flavor. Only available in Kobe area.

KitKat Shinshu Apple, only available in Shinshu area (around Nagano)

Pakkana series (three different designs: Circus, Party and Piano black). Each contains 20 small pieces (10 regular flavor and 10 with a little bitter taste)

Some other examples are: Apple Vinegar, Bubblegum, Caramel and Salt, Cucumber, European Cheese...(see for more)

Enjoy the summer,

Monday, July 25, 2011


It's summertime and firework season in Japan.
Every July/August a lot of fireworks festivals (花火大会, hanabi taikai) are held all over Japan. The fireworks can be small (around 1,000 shots) or very huge(around 39,000 shots) and can attract up to 1,300,000 visitors. Street vendors sell various drinks, Japanese food and held traditional festival games. Visitors are usually dressed in a Yukata (summer Kimono).

These festivals are very popular for companies, as they can act as sponsors.
They usually buy space on the festival’s pamphlet and make announcements during the event. Most of the time companies want to promote their name to local people, in order to develop in that region.
Also foreign companies in or outside Japan, who want to raise awareness, can reach with this kind of promotion a lot of people. Nearly all Japanese will join at least one Hanabi.

In Nagogata a very unique sponsoring was developed. We call it something like “private fireworks sponsorship”. People can sponsor privately to the fireworks committee and then parts of the fireworks will be shot with a personal message, which often include engagement messages.

These events are part of the Japanese culture and for companies really a good and unique promotion platform.

To those of you who haven't been on summer vacation yet: Enjoy!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tanabata Festival Sendai

Today I would like to write a bit about the Tanabata festival, which is held at many places of Japan in summer.

The famous Tanabate festival is held in Sendai, the area which was damaged by the huge earthquake and tsunami in March of this year. This is also the reason why we think it's a topic for this blog and we all hope that this festival will help Sendai at least a little bit to recover from its damage.

Tanabata (meaning "evening of the seventh") is a Japanese star festival and celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, which are represented by the stars Vega and Altair. According to a legend, the Milkey Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calender. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on July 7 of the Gregorian calender and is held at night (Sorce: Wikipedia).

As I mentioned, the biggest Tanabata festival is celebrated in Sendai and is especially this year of great importance. It will be held from August 6-8.
( Japanese only)

At the Sendai Tanabata festival, people traditionally use seven different kinds of decorations, which each represent different meanings. The seven decorations and their symbolic meanings are:

Paper strips (短冊; Tanzaku) : Wishes for good handwriting and studies

Paper Kimono (紙衣; Kamigoromo) : Wishes for good sewing. Wards off accidents and bad health

Paper Crane (折り鶴; Orizuru) : Family safety, health, and long life

Paper Purse (巾着; Kinchaku) : Good business

Net (投網; Toami) : Good fishing and harvests

Trash Bag (くずかご; Kuzukago) : Cleanliness and thriftyness

Streamers (吹き流し; Fukinagashi) : The strings that Orihime uses to weave
(Source: Wikipedia)

We really hope very much that this festival will help Sendai at least a little bit to recover from the damage and that the citizens of Sendai will for some hours have a good time and forget the earthquake for a while.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Direct Mail Example Japan

Well, today I would like to show you a quite common example and format of Direct Mail in Japan:

It's an A4-sized double sided card; an invitation to a car dealer fair.

For non-Japanese it might look a bit crowded. The focus is on as many choices as possible (e.g. different car offers), rather than focusing on one clear message for one car model.

The main selling points are: eye-catching, because bigger than standard post; a lot of information for comparatively cheap printing costs.

The front page of the mailing shows offers, which are not directly related to the product or brand:
1. People who will bring the coupon from this card to the dealers fair will receive one bread for free
2. The first 70 clients at the fair will receive a caricature
3. Clients can meet the company’s' calendar girls at the fair
4. At the dealers fair lottery scratch tickets are given to individuals, who order a new or used car, or register for inspection or maintenance.

The backside of the mailing shows different car offers and the invitation to order their catalogue.

Once again, this is one common format of DM in Japan, but of course formats and content depend on the target group and many other factors.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Black cats as a corporate brand/symbol!?

Today I want to focus on the brand of Yamato Holdings, one of YDM's mother companies. Their corporate brand or symbol is very unique and has a very high recognition value.

It's a black cat, carrying it's kitten.

This corporate brand comes from Yamato's philosophy and attitude to its clients. The handling of parcels has to be as careful as if a parent cat is nipping its kitten to carry it.

This logo has been determined in 1957, but Yamato already founded it in 1919.