Japanese advertising and marketing explained

Why does the advertising agency Dentsu’s have a name meaning “electronic communication”?

It started out as a news wire service and then branched out into selling newspaper advertising space, a common combination in Japan at the time

Why is most Japanese TV advertising so shit and repetitive?

The companies that are advertising have little choice but to use the same few adverting companies, because they own the advertising space on the TV channels. This also means that all the car companies (for example) are represented by the same advertising agencies and so there is little incentive for the advertising agencies to make their own life difficult by competing with themselves with new and better advertising that will piss off its other clients for not doing something so good for them. In America, by contrast, an advertising agency is constrained from handling competitive products and firms, meaning the companies are smaller and more competitive. One more reason is that “there are few marketing specialists at Japanese agencies. Some 44 percent of advertising employment is made up of sales representatives, while marketing specialists represent only 3 percent of the total” (Kodansha Encyclopaedia of Japan (1983) pg 18)

Why are beer TV commercials usually set at night but happoshu ads set during the day?

I hadn’t noticed this one until I read it in the Japan Times, but it does seem to be true. The only theory that springs to mind is happoshu fitting in with lower class sports like fishing and horse racing

Why are there so many seasonal products and advertising campaigns?

Why the division between very witty advertising and others that are less subtle than local radio?

Why do so many advertising campaigns have just a celebrity face and not even picture the product?
Because of the generalist management of Japanese companies the person choosing an advertising campaign-and even the person from Dentsu suggesting it to him- could well know nothing about marketing. The campaigns chosen are therefore those that bring prestige to those people, which is guaranteed by famous faces even if the product flops. This also ties in with being risk averse.

Why do some Japanese advertisements just consist of a picture of a famous person? 

“the majority of my co-workers are here because of some connection they have, or because they are the son or daughter of someone important”
A Senior Account Executive from a “large Japanese advertising company” explains why Japanese advertising is so shit in “Being a Broad in Japan” pg 307. Having a celebrity is considered a low risk and high status advertising campaign, especially if the top staff get to meet the celebrity. Still don’t know how to explain the occassional flashes of brilliance like the Coca Cola Zero ones though…

Why do some people handing out leaflets or tissues in the street avoid giving gaijin any?

With a dedication to a crap job rarely seen outside Japan, they are giving them only to the specific people the advertising is aimed at.

Why tissues?

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