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Japan/Korea PR Campaign of the Year


Gold
Campaign Title

Marukome: Rocking out with miso soup!
Client

Marukome Co., Ltd.
Agency

Dentsu Inc. & Dentsu Public Relations Inc.

Consumption of miso soup in Japan has halved over the past four decades as the country adopted more Western dietary habits. For market leader Marukome, this was an alarming trend for the 160-year old firm as a younger demographic regarded miso soup as “old and stale and doesn’t change.” With Dentsu’s support, Marukome mounted a bold rebranding campaign for miso soup – a risky move with the possibility of alienating seniors and older customers in Japan. Still, the “Millennial Generation” in Japan had the lowest prevalence to miso soup consumption, and thus held the most potential for growth. This is also the age group most attuned to rock music. By associating Marukome with rock and making the brand “cool”, Dentsu proposed a multi-faceted campaign based around a rock music theme. Firstly, the company’s well-known mascot – a smiling, chubby-cheeked apprentice monk ‘Marukome-kun’ – received a drastic makeover. Equally as drastic for an industry so steeped in Japanese tradition, Marukome introduced a new production step to manufacturing at its Nagano factory. A new miso taste was created by “stimulating” yeast with rock music during the fermentation process. In a fortunate coincidence, a Japanese rock band had already adopted the name “Miso-shiru’s” (meaning “The Miso Soups”), which presented the perfect tie-up opportunity for Marukome-kun to be transformed into a “member” of the band. With so much publicity, the new miso soup varietal sold out in no time on Rakuten, FamilyMart, Daily Yamazaki and Y Shop. Sales reached approximately 22.8 million yen ($190,000) – more than six times the original goal. This figure was all the more impressive considering a tub of miso generally sells for just a few dollars.  

Silver
Campaign Title

The Shut-down Island!
Client

Miyakojima City
Agency

Dentsu Inc. & Dentsu Public Relations Inc.

In summer, the Miyako Island in Okinawa Prefecture is a popular destination but in Japan’s cooler winter months, visitor numbers decline from over 40,000 per month to less than 30,000. This is dealing a blow to the island economy dependent on tourism. The Miyako local government sought to lure out-of-season visitors without relying on the island’s traditional attractions of sun, sea and sand. Miyako’s historical ruins was the place’s little-known attraction that Dentsu selected as the focus of a campaign promoting Miyako Island as an Indiana Jones-like adventure holiday. To communicate this, a paradoxical approach was taken in which the whole island was figuratively “shut down” with escape made supposedly impossible until hidden puzzles are solved. The plan turned both tourists and local islanders into willing explorers of the destination’s historical offerings – a total of 2,921, triple the number expected – who injected about US$2 million into the island’s economy. The campaign finally saw results from a survey published in October 2014 by the Brand Research Institute. Miyako Island’s ranking among Japan’s most attractive regions rose from 34th in 2013 to 19th that year. Overall tourist traffic climbed in 2014 to an annual record of 430,550 from 400,391 the previous fiscal year. The ‘Shut-down Island’ challenge garnered wide coverage including on NHK, Sports Nippon, and Huffington Post Japan. The Miyako Island authorities were so impressed with the campaign’s success that a dedicated department has been created to handle tourism events. 

Bronze
Campaign Title

From Working man to Daddy
Client

Ministry of Gender Equality and Family
Agency

FleishmanHillard Korea

The Ministry of Gender Equality & Family wanted to create a social atmosphere encouraging work-family balance and raise men’s awareness of their right to take part in childcare, rather than always having to set work as their first priority.

Because reality shows about dads taking part in child-rearing had become popular, the agency and Ministry collaborated with one of the shows, SBS’s “Oh! My Baby” to host and televise a discussion forum that involved working dads and moms. The forum also included a panel of celebrities, healthcare professionals, scholars, policy-makers and culture critics who shared their experiences and success stories. This was an unprecedented strategic collaboration between a government agency and a TV show, which helped drive a social agenda.

The Ministry also partnered with businesses in a “Family Loving Day” campaign, which encouraged people to leave work on time at least once a week for quality time with their families.

The campaign helped drive a tenfold increase in use of the phrase “working daddy” in news articles, blogs and social media. The discussion forum resulted in 90 instances of media coverage and US$480,000 worth of PR value. In addition, 10 private companies joined the campaign. For example, messages were exposed at 600 Starbucks bulletin boards and 800 Innisfree stores around the country, and Lotte Mart sent more than 1.3 million ‘working daddy’ coupons to customers. The Ministry opened a Working Mom and Daddy Support Center to help fathers with programs including childcare classes and mobile counselling sessions.