What to remember when advertising in Japan【BILCOM English Blog Vol.2】
第1弾記事はこちらから/ Related article
Successful Promotion in the Japanese Market 【BILCOM English Blog Vol.1】
Japanese advertisements are less based on the main product concept
One of the most memorable things about Japanese television is the series of odd advertisements that makes the viewer wonder what in the world is going on. Unlike Western advertisements, Japanese advertisements are generally more ambiguous with the message it wants to convey to the audience. Indeed, advertisements in Japan are based on feeling and emphasize uniqueness and entertainment. They mainly aim to provide the audience with the essence of the product by leaving a strong impression on the viewer. On the other hand, Western advertisements are more centralized on the core idea of some sort. This includes product concept; message and such. Therefore, having this in mind, Japanese advertisements are "entertainment"-oriented whereas Western advertisements are rather "concept"-oriented.
Having this in mind, actresses, singing idols, and other prominent figures make frequent appearance instead of crucial information regarding the product. This tells us that Japanese advertisements tend to link the product image with well-known figures as a means to add value to the product and entertain the audience. Although this method creates inconsistency between the visual image and the product concept, it forges a sense of credibility and value towards the product. This effect also encourages the audience to purchase or try the product; "because someone famous is advocating the usage or consumption of the product, I want to purchase it too!", this is the logic hidden behind such strategical approach.
Let's compare and contrast a Western advertisement with a Japanese advertisement. In figure 1, we can see a Japanese advertisement of Miranda Kerr enjoying a lemon-flavored tea. Personally, I see this as a very interesting and entertaining way to advertise the product. While there is nothing engaging that conveys the product concept, it reflects a famous figure reacting to the taste of the beverage. Moreover, it is hard to acknowledge how the product distinguishes itself from other lemon-flavored beverages. However, the advertisement itself is capable of influencing the audience because it applies the power of entertainment with a beautiful figure: Miranda Kerr. Figure 2 on the other hand is a "Western-styled" advertisement with a rather clear message. From this ad, we can perceive the freshness of the product as well as its prominence among the iced tea consumers; "it is preferred two-to-one over other brands". Moreover, the written context in this image enables us to understand how the product tastes and how it distinguishes itself from its potential competitors.
Visual content and product concept are linked in a different manner in Japanese advertisements and Western advertisements. While Japanese advertisements lack of an obvious message, it is safe to say that entertainment is key to create a successful advertisement and influence the consumers in the Japanese market.
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