The other day I was exploring some new parts of Tokyo when I started to feel woozy in the extreme August heat. I ducked into a shop to make use of their air conditioning and buy some drinks, as well as some “salt candy” which is candy made containing the salt that we all need to stave off dangerous health issues like heat stroke, which is a problem in Japan. While in the store, I noticed several anime-themed products in pretty much every aisle I walked down. Is anime marketing taking over?
Anime is great because it’s a medium that forms strong emotional connections between fans and the characters they love, and any product tied to those characters is likely to share in that positive energy. Since the original Sailor Moon fans are at an age where they might experience some migraine headaches from time to time, why not make limited Sailor Moon Bufferin aspirin to help ease their discomfort? We can’t be far off from official Sailor Moon-branded hair color products to hide grey hairs.
(Sailor Moon has also been used to market feminine products in the past, which makes sense as women of that era use “Sailor Moon’s day” as a euphemism for their monthly cycles.)
Tying Unrelated Products to Popular Characters
These energy drinks are totally unrelated to Kimetsu no Yaiba, but the fact that they were placed in a display case with cute-as-a-button Nezuko made me reach out to buy them before I could stop myself. Anime marketing companies are so sneaky!
Cross-Marketing Anime with Pizza
Although Levi’s is a famous brand in Japan today, back in the 1970s this wasn’t the case, as the company struggled to gain traction in the Japanese jeans market. The company hit upon the idea of tying its famous brand to iconic (and dead) names like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. Awareness of Levi’s brand skyrocketed among young Japanese, and it didn’t cost the company a lot of money, as it turns out that hiring dead people to represent your brand is quite inexpensive. The marketing campaign was one of the most successful in history.
Another legendary marketing coup was when Pizza Hut Japan, after seeing another pizza delivery chain co-brand with the Eureka 7 anime, approached the creators of Code Geass about partnering with them to cross-market, having pizza delivered in boxes with Code Geass characters printed on them, and actually featuring Pizza Hut’s products in the anime itself. It was a huge success, especially since people all over the world know the company and were compelled to eat more pizza because of the anime. Now anime co-branding with products like pizza is everywhere. Convenience stores also engage in anime marketing these days, paying to have their names featured in popular series and selling limited products from the shows in their stores.
UCC Coffee Defines the Evangelion Era
Back in the 1990s when Evangelion was airing, it was quite innovative to have official cross-over products like UCC’s canned coffee exist. By the time of the Rebuild of Evangelion films began in 2007, anime had progressed to the level that we all expected official crossover products, like the ANA Evangelion crossover campaign and even showing Misato drinking official Yebisu beer, rather than Ebichu brand.
Remembering the 2019 winter McDonald’s commercial for the Gratin Croquette Burger, which featured former AKB48 member Atsuko Maeda, and anime seiyu Ayana Takatatsu and Aimi.
It feels like several years ago, but it was just last Christmas. pic.twitter.com/LJBnzyp58t
— Peter Payne (@JListPeter) August 24, 2020
McDonald’s Makes an Idol Anime
McDonald’s is an old hand at using anime marketing to generate buzz for its products, whether it’s making us want to go work at McDonald’s or capturing the refreshing feeling of drinking a McShake in the hot summer. Then there was the time they made a full-blown idol anime, in which three girls who love to eat Gratin Croquette Burgers in the winter meet and reminisce about their university days.
Want People to Feel Good About Your Company? Hire Makoto Shinkai to Make an Anime Commercial!
That’s what Taisei Construction Company did, commissioning a series of commercials about hardworking engineers building important construction projects in Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Turkey. The commercials make me want to go back to school and become a civil engineer.
Anime Canes for Old-School Mecha Fans?
Let’s face it: anime has been around for a while, and some of us anime fans aren’t the spring chickens we once were. When we get to the age when we need to use a cane to get around, it’s nice to know there’ll be official anime-themed canes for us to use!
Japan keeps making more and more amazing anime figures to brighten our gloomy days, including figures with clothing that can be removed, because why not? Browse our latest anime figure offerings here!