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.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mobile Marketing Japan

I found an interesting article about mobile marketing in Japan, which I want to share with you:

Isn't it amazing how sophisticated this market segment in Japan is?



Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's Coffee Time!

Did you know that with 3.3 kg per capita / year, the total coffee consumption in Japan ranks no. 3 in the world (after US and GE), representing a strong, competitive market?

According to All Japan Coffee Association fresh coffee beans were mainly imported in 2009 from Brazil, Columbia, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Japanese consume a large variety of products (43% instant, 30% regular) and mainly enjoy their coffee at home.
The target group ages 40-59 consume 30% more than average and is highly attractive.

Popular are also "ready to drink coffee", e.g. liquid coffee in a tin which can be purchased at any convenient store or vending machine (available warm):

Have a good week,


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Naka Tsuri Advertisement

Every one of us is familiar with advertisement on public transportation, such as huge images printed on the side of buses. Some countries are famous for their advertisements on taxi roofs, whereas Japan has it's uniqueness in advertisement in trains/subways.
In Japan this form of advertisement is called naka(inside) tsuri(hang) koukoku(advertisement).

In Tokyo millions of people are using trains/subways every day, so the reach of the advertisement is enormous.

Here are some numbers of the busiest stations in greater Tokyo (from Wikipedia):

Passengers carried daily (2007):

Shinjuku Station- 3.64 million (Registered with Guinness World Records)
Ikebukuro Station- 2.71 million
Shibuya Station- 2.18 million
Yokohama Station- 2.09 million
Tokyo Station- 1.12 million
Shinagawa Station- 0.91 million
Takadanobaba Station- 0.90 million
Shimbashi Station- 0.85 million

Naka tsuri advertisement is often used for promotion such as weekly magazines, concerts or brand new beverages. Most popular are the posters hanging in the middle of the train, with the two following available sizes: B3 size (single), 51.5 cm x 36.4 cm, or double size (wide), 103 cm x 36.4 cm.

Considering the huge amount of people using public transportation every day, naka tsuri advertisement and also advertisement at major stations are very popular in Tokyo.

Here some examples:

Advertisement for beer festival

Advertisement for green tea

Christmas campaign of Starbucks

Have a great week,


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Direct Marketing Monitor International

The Direct Marketing Monitor International (DMMI) is a survey of the Direct Marketing climate in 30 countries, based on interviews of 18,500 private consumers worldwide. The study provides up-to-date economic data, information regarding the acceptance and use of dialogue marketing as well as consumer, industry and mail-order trends worth knowing.

The six core issues/questions are:
1. In which countries are mailings the most widespread?
2. Which countries are most receptive to mailings?
3. Which consumers are particularly interested in mailings?
4. What do consumers find appealing about mailings?
5. How high are penetration levels for mailings compared to other advertising media?
6. Which products and thematic areas get the best responses from consumers?

Here are some findings about the Japanese market from 2008:

(click for bigger image)

(click for bigger image)

(click for bigger image)

(click for bigger image)

(click for bigger image)



PS: You can also order a free copy of the international marketing facts 2008(CD and/or printed version) here. The side is in German only, please contact me for assistance.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


QR-Codes (QR= Quick Response) is a specific matrix code, readable by camera phones. Founded 1994 in Japan, the code usually consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background.

For marketing it's a very easy and cheap way to to link offline marketing campaigns to online. Consumers just have to take a picture of the code and will then be transfered to the specific page of the advertiser. These QR-Codes are great to integrate in Direct Mail campaigns.

In Japan QR-Codes are very popular, whereas in many other parts of the world they are hardly used.

These days technology is so sophisticated, so designers are able to develope creative, colored QR-Codes.
I found some great examples on this webpage; here already some impressions:

Louis Vuitton

Marc Jacobs

Glico Dororich

Once again here the Link.



Welcome to YDM's Blog Dialog+

Who we are
YDM (Yamato Dialog & Media), which is specialized in Direct Marketing, is a joint venture between DHL Global Mail (Japan) K.K. and Yamato Transport. The two different cultures coming together is the basic of an interesting work atmosphere with a lot of different ideas in the marketing sector.

Why am I blogging?
We want to give our English speaking customers, business partners and also colleagues abroad, a better understanding of the Japanese market. Some marketing ideas seem to be normal for Japanese, but for others totally interesting and new. Japanese consumers are different, which also means that foreign companies have to adjust their marketing activities accordingly. Therefore I’m blogging; to show the rest of the world what’s going on in the (Direct) Marketing sector in Japan and what’s different.

What I will be blogging about
Basically I will blog anything interesting about the Japanese market, which is different to other markets. This can be outstanding advertisement, data about consumer behavior, differences about Direct Mail, trends, or what ever I think will be interesting to read about.

Ideas are welcome any time!