The Journal The Authority on Global Business in Japan

PUBLICITY | ADVERTISING

AUGUST 2014

Adding Wow to Your Marketing and Branding
Designer’s print and digital campaigns attract eyes of industry and consumers

ISBBDOWhen an optical design company needed a campaign that would appeal to its niche customer base while adding that elusive “wow” factor, it found a perfect match in I&S BBDO.

Based in Tokyo, I&S BBDO is the Japanese arm of BBDO, a worldwide network of advertising and marketing-service providers. The network’s services include branding and marketing, strategic planning, integrated media planning, and other communications services. It has 67 years of experience in the Japanese market and provides those services to both local and global clients.

Speaking to the ACCJ Journal, Sei Sugiyama, award-winning art director at I&S BBDO, explained some of his most recent marketing campaigns, as well as the core values that set the Japan-based firm apart from the competition.

“For Miyamoto [Optical Co. Ltd.],” Sugiyama said, “we created a poster campaign called ‘Only people who need glasses can see this,’ which was based on an optical illusion.”

The campaign features the face of a man and a woman wearing glasses. At the bottom right-hand corner of the poster, a subtle “sale” sign is embedded. The posters were created as store-front advertising.

As the entire poster relies on a trompe l’oeil (French for “deceive the eye”) effect that is specifically designed for people with poor eyesight, the sale sign can only be seen by people likely to use Miyamoto Optical’s services.

Such personalized and creative attention to detail, Sugiyama said, not only enhances brand value and trust between Miyamoto Optical and its customers, but it also makes I&S BBDO stand out as a marketing and advertising agency.

It won the Bronze Lion award at the 2014 Cannes Lions, the world’s largest annual awards in the creative communications industry.

In addition to causing waves among retailers, Sugiyama’s designs have also created buzz on the Internet. The project that kicked off the digital buzz began to promote Twitter’s Vine application.

There was a catch, however, as Twitter users typically communicate via short text messages, while Vine users communicate via short video clips. To bridge this gap, Sugiyama created a campaign that would entice Twitter’s largely language-driven users to try Vine’s video-based service.

“My assumption,” Sugiyama said, “was that there were visually minded people in the ‘Twitter-verse’ who could be persuaded to use the Vine app.”

Indeed, Sugiyama was inspired by a belief that people can be divided into two general types: left-brained communicators, who typically use words, and right-brained communicators, who prefer images.

Sugiyama created three Vine videos of slowly spinning silhouettes of a samurai, a sumo wrestler, and a ninja. Depending on whether a user was left-brained or right-brained, Sugiyama explained, the silhouettes could be said to rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise.

To develop online community participation among Twitter users, a Twitter hashtag was created. A special website was developed with an image inspired by the Japanese national flag, only the red sun in the center was replaced by a stylized image of the left and right side of a brain.

Twitter users who watched the Vine-based spinning silhouettes could visit the “Japan flag” website, register whether they were right- or left-brained, and share their experience on Twitter via the chosen hashtag.

Sugiyama’s campaign attracted more than 100,000 Twitter users to the world of Vine.

Three phrases can be said to sum up Sugiyama and I&S BBDO’s creative philosophy: “The Work. The Work. The Work.” This obsessive approach to finding the perfect solution to each project is what motivates the art director and BBDO group companies.

Sugiyama’s Twitter campaign also won the top prize in Twitter’s Hashtag Awards (2014).

I&S BBDO has been recognized in numerous other award ceremonies, including the Clio Awards, the APAC Effie, and the ACC Grand Prize in Japan. •