Tag Archives: Pop-Culture Marketing

Tokyo Game Show 2018 – 4 Days Report

2 Oct , 2018,
Haruta
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Bethesda Softworks’ IPs greeting event goers as they walk towards the halls

Over the 4 days between September 20th ~ 23rd, Makuhari Messe hosted the largest annual gaming convention of East Asia, Tokyo Game Show (TGS). This year saw a huge influx of visitors from the previous years ー A good 298,690 showed up over the 4 days, compared to 254,311 in 2017, and 271,224 in 2016. Likewise, exhibitors also increased from 609 to 668, of which 330 were from overseas. This was certainly a trend that’s been happening in the recent years, where overseas games and gaming-related companies are expanding into the Japanese market (One of which, notably, is Azure Lane, being introduced into the Japanese market and becoming a huge hit in 2017).

Kisei -Kuushiki- 1/1 display statue from [Border Break] right outside Makuhari Messe

As with any commercial conventions, exhibitors certainly placed a lot of effort into the visual promotion of their IPs. Booths were built in elaborated set-ups, with iconic figures and characters in detailed sculptures. Besides the typical promotional models, exhibitors also hired cosplayers to portray as in-game characters to promote their games (Pictures below). Some noticeable ones were Bandai Namco’s bright orange booths, with smoke machines making distinctive whiffs as they fire jets of white smokes at fixed intervals, or PlayStation’s show of dominance with walls of displays for the multiple IPs they’re showcasing, such as the Evil Monk mini boss from [Sekiro] (Seen above), or Sam Porter Bridges from the much anticipated Kojima Production’s [Death Stranding] (Seen below).

Players experience FromSoftware’s brutality aplenty

And of course, what’s TGS without games? Although we were able to enter on business days as press, the queue for certain games were insanely long as well. For example, on the first day it took more than 2 hours in the demo queue for FromSoftware’s newest title Sekiro before we got to try it at all (granted, we missed the early rush to the booths go get the queue tickets). Other games we managed to try required less waiting, such as Ace Combat 7, Devil May Cry 5, Rockman 11, Kingdom Hearts III, to name a few (also because we learnt our lesson and went straight to their booths as soon as we could enter). Demos were kept to 15 minutes per play, and if the players are competent to clear the demo under that limit, they’re free to continue playing until their times are up (we were able to hear really good music for DMC5 for one).

Singapore-based Battlebrew Productions also boothed at TGS in the Indie Games section

This year’s TGS also saw many overseas exhibitors, as mentioned above. The indie game booths took up a sizeable area within Hall 9 of Messe, with 154 booths as compared to 121 last year, and we happened to chance upon our local Singaporean company Battlebrew Productions exhibiting there (they will also be at Game Start 2018 this year, so give them a visit!). There has also been a prominent presence of virtual reality games this year, and given how affordable VR headsets are becoming compared to the last few years, it’s no wonder companies are pushing for VR. The most noticeable trend however, is the ever prominent push for mobile phone games; 30% of the games showcased at TGS are planned to be published on mobile phones, which goes to show that the mobile platform is still ever strong.

VR Machine for interested members of the public to experience

Overall, TGS2018 has seen the largest crowd yet, partly due to multiple AAA titles being announced this year at E3 earlier in June. Next year’s Tokyo Game Show will be held between September 12th to 15th, so for those interested in visiting, do mark it down on your dates.

 

Pop-Culture Marketing: Banking on the Action

28 Jun , 2016,
Crimson
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In last week’s column, we talked about how Japan was using manga to educate pop-culture fans about their moving options.

This week, we examine how pop-culture is changing the way several banks in Japan – traditionally known to be staid, stuffy, and uninterested in the geek dollar, are selling their credit card and loan products.

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Highschool girls are probably the last thing you’d expect banks to use as their mascots.

Known as the Card Loan Girls, these anthropomorphized cards represent products from consumer financial institutions such as Acom, Lake, Aiful, Orix, Mitsui Sumitomo, Mizuho, Mobit, and Promise, and are the latest in a long, long line of anthropomorphized objects to hit Japan.

Of course, the casual otaku should be no stranger to such things, what with ship girls a la DMM’s Kantai Collection or sword boys from Touken Ranbu dominating the doujin charts and at the forefront of fan consciousness in the past couple years.

What’s interesting though, is the way the Card Loan Girls site uses quality manga style illustrations and a presentation that’s almost akin to a dating SIM to woo the geeky demographic.

Entries even list the character’s height, attributes and favorite activities (which we assume represent a particular lifestyle or hobbies that might align with a particular loan policy).

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With the website's presentation, you might think it's selling a dating SIM.

With the website’s presentation, you might think it’s selling a dating SIM. Also represented above: The Lake mascot Rei Midorikawa.

Of course, www.cardloan-girls.jp does more than just flash waifu material at you.

It aggregates details about the participating bank’s credit cards and loan products such as interest rates, maximum card limits, even participating ATMs and outlets.

The site also lays out the pros and cons of each product in a nutshell, happily helping you to make informed choices about the card that’s most right for your lifestyle, income bracket and spending habits. 

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Car, housing, mortgage, even bridal loans are discussed on the site.

If there’s anything otakus need, it’s probably financial advice and this campaign might actually be doing a pretty good job at dispensing it.

Local banks have already seen the value of tapping on pop-culture. We curated cosplay content and a manga strip for DBS Marina Regatta last year, but we’ve yet to see them embark on something quite as ambitious. Hopefully, with pop-culture emerging as the marketing in-thing, we’ll see more diverse campaigns on the horizon.

Check out the Card Loan Girls site for yourself at http://cardloan-girls.jp.

If you have a lead on a site or campaign that’s a great example of pop-culture marketing, be sure to write us at info[at]neotokyoproject.com to let us know! We’ll be happy to take a look at it, and if it is a great fit for this column, we’d be happy to write about it! 

Pop-Culture Marketing: Telling Moving Stories

23 Jun , 2016,
Crimson
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Geeks have been identified as one of the biggest spenders globally. They’ve got plenty of disposable income, are incredibly brand loyal when hooked, and as creatures of the Internet, are excellent mouthpieces for your products if you hit all the right notes.

This has led companies to devise new strategies for engaging with a geek audience – strategies that we define as pop-culture marketing.

Such creative campaigns can run the gamut (we’re no strangers to such strategies ourselves), using imaginative ways to spread key marketing messages like animation, comics, cosplay, geeky displays and even memes.

Of course, such ideas aren’t something any advertising suit can come up with.

Case in point being Gumtree’s campaign depicting Cosplay Flyer Distributors that gave the local cosplay community a good laugh with its treatment and botched aesthetics. Also, a casual search on Gumtree will reveal that Cosplay Flyer Distributor is a job that pays abysmally (only $6 to $12 an hour). That’s nowhere near the market rate for costumed appearances (which is typically $30 or more per hour) that cosplayers are generally familiar with. 

Original Image: The Cosplay Chronicles

Would you dress up and slap on make-up for a gig like this?Source: The Cosplay Chronicles

Of course, that’s not to say that companies can’t come up with great ideas and great campaigns.

In fact, we were tipped-off about one from Japan just last month called Hikkoshi More.

hikkoshimore

The Hikkoshi More website is presented in a colorful and charming manner.

Hikkoshi More is a site for information on moving services, targeted at young professionals and new families (moving from town to town for school or work is fairly common in Japan). It includes tips for first-timers, articles about how to cope with and smooth over the process of moving to a new town, and even sections on feng shui and interior decor.

Helping to present this information in convenient, bite-sized bits is the page mascot Kuronishiki, a black cat, and his master Momoa (an aspiring artist). Their adventures are serialized in a series of Cat Diary strips, which serve as anecdotes for handy advice such as techniques for packing, lifting bulky items, and even making new cat friends in an unfamiliar place.

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Kuronishiki and Momoa, from Hikkoshi More’s comic strip. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

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Some handy packing tips before a move. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

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Do you even lift? Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

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There’s even a strip about Kuronishiki’s origin story, where he is paralleled with the Peach Boy of Japanese folklore. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

It’s impressive to see how a change in stylistics and treatment can turn an otherwise dry and boring topic like moving into something informative, without losing its essence.

While this campaign has found success in Japan because manga is so intrinsic to the country’s culture, the use of such techniques to sell a service or key marketing message might not be that much of a stretch for international brands either.

We’ll be examining more such examples in the weeks to come, so do check back with us.

Check out the Hikkoshi More site for yourself at http://more-hikkoshi.com.

If you have a lead on a site or campaign that’s a great example of pop-culture marketing, be sure to write us at info[at]neotokyoproject.com to let us know! We’ll be happy to take a look at it, and if it is a great fit for this column, we’d be happy to write about it!