CSR
An Overview of Our Progress and Achievements in Corporate Social Responsibility

Yusuke Sato, 2017 Creator of the Year of Japan
CUTTING-EDGE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Marina Danjo, Yuki Tsutsumi

Yusuke Sato

The passage of time invariably causes advertising methods to change. But at present, I believe that perhaps the most effective approach to advertising is to combine traditional mass media, digital media and off-line promotion.

In former times, great campaigns comprised only traditional mass media centered on television. Since then, however, the choice of media has expanded and the digital environment has evolved, with communication via the Internet having become very important. Yet I believe that digital media alone is not enough.

I am convinced that campaigns best suited to the spirit of current times are those that seek to build brands through experiences provided to target audiences in off-line settings, as well as those that use traditional mass media and digital media.

Looking back on my own experience, I recall that, in the second year after I had joined Dentsu, I was transferred to a creative division. For the first three years, I immersed myself in the study of creative advertising, particularly focusing on TV commercials. Around that time, the era of web-based video viewing arrived and, before long, I began thinking about techniques used for videos that successfully create audience buzz.

I gradually gained an understanding of the freedom of web-based communication. A project for a band called Misoshiru’s is the first campaign in which I was involved that realized a convergence of traditional mass media, digital media, and off-line promotion.

Cover of ME SO SHE LOOSE’s debut album

It was not a big campaign, because the band really only had a following among those in the know. Nevertheless, we were able to build a model that broadly incorporated the basic elements of a campaign.

Driven by the public relations concept of gaining traction in a wider social context, it is interesting to note that the project led to a tie-up with miso soup paste producer Marukome Co., Ltd.

The ad’s focus was on how to make miso soup more appealing to young Japanese, who were becoming estranged from this traditional mainstay of Japanese cuisine.

The campaign’s hook? Marketing miso soup that had been exposed to loud rock music during the production process!

Among more recent examples of our campaigns is the dance scene involving the Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.’s team responsible for producing Pocari Sweat that is a popular brand of sports drink in Japan.

Scene from a TV commercial for Pocari Sweat

The TV commercial uses a particularly difficult dance scene as its centerpiece. On the web, video lessons were released showing how to master the dance moves. This campaign structure was designed to encourage young people to try and imitate the difficult choreography, and—if successful—would make the campaign go viral as many members of the target audience shared posts related to it on social media platforms.

A few months after the ad’s debut, several thousand people danced the routine at Dance Koshien, the high-profile national dance competition for high school students. A video of the mass of dancers at the competition was later incorporated into a new TV commercial.

This is a good example of the organic structure of a campaign that combines mass media, web media, and off-line promotion.

One of the elements all the examples share is the way in which they attempt, by using the web, to create a mechanism that will make the campaign self-sustaining.

A good example of this is the HUNGRY DAYS Aoharu-kayo series for Nissin Foods Group Cup Noodles.

A commercial for Cup Noodles

This campaign was run almost entirely using TV commercials and a website. The self-sustaining mechanism we used involved creating the desire among members of the audience to watch the ads over and over on the web.

The series sought to find a creative expression that, in this day and age, will entice viewers to watch an ad repeatedly. The series also helped extend the product’s appeal.

By packing a huge amount of information into the ads, we created a self-sustaining momentum that made young people want to watch them over and over, and discuss what they had discovered and their opinions on social media.

Since it is difficult to predict consumer trends and reactions, we must try a myriad of approaches and techniques if we are to find an approach that works. Thus, before we launch campaigns, we run simulations incorporating multiple possible scenarios and, particularly in the case of web-driven promotions, we adjust their format as necessary.

Given the limitations of what one person can achieve on their own, we work in teams. So if, for example, there is something I don’t understand or that is new, I can quiz other team members—especially the younger, more savvy ones.

In any project, staff from the client form the heart of the team, so that we can build our knowledge together. Consumers—the audience—meanwhile, are also team members, but they remain unaware of their role in ad campaigns.

We try to create an atmosphere in which the audience, in a positive mood, will choose to participate. After all, it is audience initiative that causes self-sustaining momentum. As a result, consumers—who don’t see themselves as part of an ad campaign—will themselves take on the function of an advertisement.


Yusuke Sato / Creative director / CR Planning Division 5

Yusuke Sato

Creative director
Creative Planning Division 5

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