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5 Ads I Would Steal From Japan

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Now some might disagree, but not everything in marketing or advertising is new and original; Far from it. Plenty of execs steal the ideas, take the credit, and not only from people working for them, but also from the other advertisers. There is an “I want my MTV” campaign “inspired” by “I want my Maypo”, Before the fisherman fought a bear for tuna in a John West Ad and a Japanese student fought a Lion.

In the spirit of advertising, I had to share my picks for what I think would actually work very well in the western world if, lets say, someone decided to give me money to develop the project. Wink , Wink. In order to avoid being caught right away, I will look at the Japanese Ads. Geographically it is far enough, translation discrepancies would change the copy so much that no problems should arise.

Ajinomoto Stadium – Husky Girls

I live in Limerick, Ireland’s home of Rugby (my opinion). This ad (2004/2005), is aimed at women for the promotion of the Ajinomoto Stadium home of the FC Tokyo. Main character who, in the beginning charmed by the beauty of local women, was washed away since discovering that all of them have men-like voices. Just change a country, team, and it’s a winner. Husky Girls was developed at Tokyo advertising agency Densu, It won several awards in 2005, including a gold at the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival, a Silver Lion at Cannes International Advertising Festival, and a Cresta International Advertising award. But seriously who is going to use this idea first?

Matsudaira Real Estate – Golf

Developed by Densu West Japan Osaka advertising agency: This ad was created for the promotion of the Matsudaira Real Estate, and did it with a bang. Now, as a new wave of development in western world is coming, it would make perfect sense to be “inspired” by this idea of the CEO not being able to afford a bigger house and therefore affecting his golf skills. Aired on Jan 2003, the advert picked silver in Cannes International Advertising festival, as well as giving a full experience of active Ad participation where viewers have to guess and fill in the blanks for its context, therefore increasing campaign effectiveness.

Morinaga & Co. Carrè de Chocolat – NON-BLINKING WOMAN

Campaign ran in 2008 and was created by… Dentsu. Demographics, married women in their 30s. In the ad, a woman was just about to reach the non-blinking world record. The concept of this ad was that this particular brand was a unfightable luxury, worth relief in between difficult household tasks. In the video it is clear that even main character had the entire country, and the world’s eyes, on her in the Olympic games’ fashion, Oh wait… there were Olympic games in 2008. Context: Japan is a highly collectivist society where saving face is extremely important, So that chocolate better be worth it. Any newcomers affordable luxury food brand can take this one: it sets segment higher for its brand, and uses public hype of the current highly viewed event. There is always next Olympics to prepare for!

Toyota Human Touch

Winner of Cannes 2006 Silver Lion Films, campaign humanity used people inside the car to counter the fact that most car manufacturing nowadays is done by machines (Thank God, by the way). In the other hand, humans portraying inanimate objects had been seen before for its dramatic effect. For the Ad to evoke the right message, it would need to be used in a collectivist society, where the spirit of a common goal is present. In some other societies where false sense of political correctness is present it might backfire. However, the same method would give an otherwise dehumanised service or product back the “Human Touch”. I actually dare Tesco and Argos to use it to promote their self-service lines.

Secam Home Security – THE BIG TEST

Now this one is so different for the typical category ads in our part of the globe, When a security company Ad is shown in Ireland, it rarely carries with it a positive message. Most of the time, it scares you so much you start to doubt any reasons to live. And for some reason lower budget Ads show vehicles company drives, building company is located and face of the owner.

In the Japanese version, main character is given a chance to commit a crime and rejects it. “but many won’t” is the message that would fit right into many categories, charity: you give money to charity – but many won’t, or something more shocking: you wouldn’t cheat with your boss’s wife – but many won’t. Numerous studies have been done to prove that negative message does not work as effectively as positive angle. Sharing a belief for the good of humanity is a great asset to the brand, and something that has to be learned for the future. And the fact that ad is directed at a person who will make a purchasing decision is just an icing on the cake.


Which Idea to steal is not my business, you have to understand that some ideas are sometimes mistaken for its originality. Due to globalization, we watched same movies, listened to same artists, and without a doubt much of our ideas are going to occur in some shape somewhere sooner or later. The purpose of this content is to show you that some things are there to be used for your gain; not necessarily blindly, but concepts are too good to be missed. Especially so when you are like me, learning how to do really cool stuff.

To sum-up I would like to use China’s motor industry excuse for copying popular car designs – “Italians copied English cars at the beginning and in the end developed their own style, so did Japanese and Koreans, with time we will do the same”. I hate to admit this, but it is a very strong point in their defence and very good excuse for new creative media agency before there is enough knowhow to make hundred percent original work on every project.

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