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Japan/Korea PR Campaign of the Year

Campaign Title

Fur Out! Canine Idols Woo(f) Tourists to Akita

Akita Inu Tourism

Dentsu Inc. and Dentsu Public Relations Inc.

Although well-known worldwide as a dog breed, Akita remains relatively obscure as Japan’s Akita Prefecture. Despite being blessed with pristine forests and stunning vistas, it struggles to attract overseas tourists due to its distance from major cities, poor public transport access and no international airport.

As 80 percent of Taiwanese tourists visit Japan more than once—making them more likely to visit remote places—and typically follow Japanese trends and enjoy Japanese entertainment (particularly Japanese idol groups), the market seemed to be an ideal target to leverage Japan’s popularity to attract more visitors to northern Akita, providing a much-needed boost to the local economy.

The campaign morphed Akita dogs into an idol group, Mofu Mofu Dogs (“Fluffy Dogs”), produced a music video, ‘Waiting4U’, which introduced places, dishes and other cultural features of northern Akita Prefecture. The campaign launched at 11:01 on November 1, as “11:01, 11/01” sounds phonetically similar to a dog bark in Japanese, enhancing newsworthiness. Once the video hit 1 million unique views in Japan, a press release in Taiwan introduced Mofu Mofu Dogs as an Akita dog idol group trending in Japan, and a tour of video locations by Taiwanese travel influencers produced social buzz.

Generating 299 media actions as of December 2016, the campaign brought 8,203 overseas visitors to northern Akita—smashing through the goal of 6,500. Foreign passengers on the Akita Nairiku Jukan Railway surpassed 10,000 for the first time, and 397 of 399 groups came from Taiwan with 839 Taiwanese visitors using the train in December 2016 alone—a 4.6-fold increase year-on-year. The railway experienced a 300 percent year-on-year increase in group reservations; Taiwanese visitors to Korakukan Theater and Kosaka Mine grew from a few dozen to 1,400. Accommodations experienced similar increases in Taiwanese guests: Shinzantei in Kosaka City saw visitors increase from 281 to 418.

Campaign Title

Second Life Toys

Green Ribbon Project Committee

Dentsu Inc.

In Japan, the number of organ donors is significantly low: there are about 14,000 people annually waiting for organ transplant, and only 300 people can receive the transplant operation. Some patients need to wait over 15 years. The number of organ transplant operation performed for children under the age 15 is merely average of 2.6 cases per year, nationwide, over the past five years. The number in Japan is obviously deficient.

In order to combat this situation, Dentsu decided to communicate with parents and make them aware of the situations to increase the potential number of organ donors. With a budget of US$13,500, the agency had to create a campaign that has a strong visual impact to deliver the message. In order to promote the understanding of organ transplant operations for parents, the agency performed an ‘organ transplant operation for toys’. It used toys that are no longer played with to perform a transplant on broken toys to fix them. By not just simply fixing the broken part, but performing a transplant to the broken area, the transplant itself became visible. Moreover, by making the transplanted toys cute and evident as they are, the aim was that people would become aware of the importance of transplants, and it made the toys ‘living’ manifestation of something important that keeps on living after changing its appearance.

Dentsu designed the process to have mutuality, letting the recipient appreciate the transplant, but also reward the donor's act of giving, and communicate the meaning of being a donor through a thank you letter sent from the recipient.

Campaign Title

Mr. Sniff

LOTTE Co., Ltd.

Dentsu Inc.

Compared to many other countries, the Japanese do not have a high awareness of oral hygiene. One survey conducted by an oral hygiene group found that 70 percent of foreign residents in Japan were dissatisfied with the breath quality of the Japanese. The problem was compounded by the fact that it is generally considered rude to point out the quality of someone’s breath. ACUO, a brand known for its breath-freshening gum, decided to find a solution that would help raise oral hygiene awareness among Japanese consumers.

Dentsu developed a robot that was not only capable of a high level of breath analysis, but also presented this information through a range of entertaining gestures so as not to hurt the feelings of those being tested. The agency then took Mr Sniff on the road and analysed the breath of people across Japan. The fact that the robot resembles popular actor Tori Matsuzaka gave it an instant familiarity and likability.

The project attracted over 6,800 volunteers who came in for breath tests. It was covered in 56 TV programmes and newspapers, as well as on 288 websites, which provided the brand with a combined advertising value of over US$2.34 million. As a result, 12.4 million people were able to learn about the project, and 96.7 percent of them said that they had become more aware of their breath quality.

Campaign Title

How Korean Part-time Workers Got Full-time Respect

Mediawill Networks

Weber Shandwick Korea

Alba Chunkuk launched an integrated campaign ‘Creating new culture for part-time workers’, in order to support and advocate the value of part-time employees to the Korean workforce by overhauling the standards of employment that its users had come to expect from potential employers. The major challenge was going to be dismantling the deeply ingrained culture of undervaluing and mistreating part-time workers. The strategy focused on driving a cultural shift within Korea surrounding part-time workers, reinforcing a new set of values, perceptions and behaviours. This was to be used as an opportunity for Alba Chunkuk to demonstrate a best-practice approach to supporting and recognising the value of part-time workers in Korea.

A wide range of activities was delivered from May to December 2016. Key activities included: developing a campaign microsite; constructing a 15-metre wide, six-metre-tall LED media wall titled ‘Voice of part-timers’ in the centre of Seoul; securing celebrity ambassadors and creating a series of videos where major Korean celebrities participated and gave words of encourage to part-timers; and delivering breakfast to part-time workers.

Through the strategic and multi-faceted campaign, the conversation about part-time workers in Korea successfully changed to one that was positive, showing the value they bring to Korea’s workforce. The campaign microsite received more than 5.4 million visitors during the campaign. On Facebook, YouTube and other targeted social media, the campaign commercials generated over 33 million views; the Make-A-Wish Mailbox videos saw over 48 million views. The campaign also contributed to Alba Chunkuk’s business results with a 221 percent increase in part-time worker registrations.



Zamir Khan
Head of Award Events 

Tel: (+852) 3175 5273
Email: zamir.khan@haymarket.asia


Kaling Man
Events Manager

Tel: (+852) 3175 1993
Email: kaling.man@haymarket.asia


Christopher Amhoff
Senior Account Manager - Brand Media Asia

Tel: (+852) 3118 1500
Email: christopher.amhoff@haymarket.asia