Creativity, Content and Courage: Showcase

Some of the most impressive work I have seen from Dentsu inc.

My second week in the Dentsu building had a different perspective. Having been lectured on the philosophy and structure which supports the dominant Dentsu business in Japan, now it was time to see the results: a week of case studies and showcases.

Many of the business successes we saw are client-confidential, and so I can’t share them publicly, but here I will give you a taste of some of my favourite cases I can talk about, and some of the reasons I think they are good examples of Dentsu’s unique brand of creativity.

Apologies to my Chinese friends, as I am using YouTube links here.

  1. The Sound of Honda

As a Cannes Grand Prix winner, this may be an obvious choice, but what I learned about this was that the Creative Director on this project used to be a data analyser in Dentsu and his unique background was what made the idea happen. Learning for me: never be happy with your skills and experience, keep learning new things, you never know when they will lead to your biggest break!

2. Toshiba 10-Year Bulb

A touching emotional journey of 10 years with one LED lightbulb. The story of this ad though is that it started with a billboard in Tokyo’s Ginza (of the 10-year calendar featured in the ad), which gained so much interest & popularity that the story had to be told through a TVC, almost by popular demand. Learning: big ideas can start small, and can actually be an evolution of an existing message or campaign.

3. Kyushu Shinkansen: 250KM Wave

Another excellent TVC with a back-story. Not only was the Kyushu Shinkansen (the first time Kyushu prefecture had been linked by high-speed rail) an opportunity to bring the communities of this part of Japan together, it became a national beacon of hope and positivity after the devastating earthquake and tsunami of March 2011. Advertising at this time was pulled from TV, but the Kyushu ad became a viral hit and Japanese people shared it with messages of support for each other. Learning: the social context is important for any campaign, and you can aim high in setting ambitions for what your communication is looking to address.

4. The Bushido Project

You’re a big industrial robotics company, celebrating your 100th anniversary. Do you put out a press release, invite your clients to a factory tour and maybe run a self congratulatory print ad? No, you program your robotic arm to mimic a sword master and create a minor sensation with 4m video views. Bravo! Learning: don’t be walled-in by the normal behaviour of your sector, and don’t be afraid to show your creativity.

5. Bell-net Obstetrics: Mother Book

How to create envy and demand for a maternity hospital, in a country with declining birth rates… create a unique gift for your customers which tells the story of their child’s in-utero development over 40 weeks and allows messages to the baby, in a beautiful and touching design. Needless to say, this created a bit of a waiting list. Learning: marketing isn’t always about advertising. Sometimes consumer demand can be driven by putting more resource into the consumer experience.

6. Yo-Kai Watch

This isn’t an ad campaign. This is one place where Dentsu has been different for years, as I have mentioned before: they have been in the content business for over 100 years. Here, they partnered with a video game company, a broadcaster and other investors to bring a new anime series to life from scratch. As one of Japan’s most viewed animes, with one of the most demanded range of toys, comics and even foods; having sold the series to other countries (including the US); and having deposed Pokemon and Doraemon as the in-demand characters for advertiser tie-ins, you could say this was a successful investment. Learning: the most powerful content does not begin life as advertiser-funded, but to get the return you will have to take the risk

So these are my top-6 Dentsu success stories, which I feel cover a good range of the outtakes I have taken from my time learning the “Dentsu Way”. Now I get to move into an Account Management team to find out what really happens behind the scenes… will keep you posted!