The Particularities of Japanese Advertising
Kareckas, Leslie A.
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Japanese advertising has become globally dominant through a mixture of Japanese and Western characteristics. Dentsu, the world's largest agency, has become successful through creativity, diversity, expansion and organization. The first two qualities are traditionally Western and the last two are typically Japanese. The media utilized by Japanese advertisers is similar to those used in the United states. The four main media that predominate are: radio, newspapers, magazines, and television. Since these media are becoming increasingly expensive, alternative methods have been adopted. Point-of-purchase, direct mail, and outdoor advertising are all gaining in popularity, however government restrictions prevent their full potential from being utilized. The techniques used in Japanese advertising have direct correlations with Japan's culture, economy, and history. Emotional-based ads are the dominant form of promotion used by advertisers because of traditions and values inherent to the culture. Also popular are value-added campaigns; its increased use is due to Japan's rising economic influence. Third, foreigners in advertising are used because of Japan's affluence and their growing curiosity about the West. Lastly, comparative ads are also proliferating because of Western influence. Promotions are a tangible form of advertising and are beginning to be effectively utilized in the Japanese market, despite strict regulations. Traditional discounting, cutting prices, is not as common in Japan as in the West. Discounted goods are considered of poor quality and are not likely to be purchased by Japanese consumers. Instead discounting takes the form of prepaid cards. Couponing, recently legalized, is also employed as a method of discounting. Premiums are used in much they same way as in the West, accept several regulations exist that control their proliferation. Proctor & Gamble is a model company that attempted to enter the Japanese market with products and strategies that were utilized in the United States. They used a standardized procedure that did not take into consideration any particularities of the market. Although initially they were successful, Proctor & Gamble suffered a huge loss due to their assumptions. Kao, similar to Proctor & Gamble in Japan, used specialized techniques to enter the American market. Instead of charging blindly in, they carefully studied American consumer needs through extensive market research. Although they have just recently entered the market, their success is imminent. These examples conclude that specialized techniques are needed to enter a foreign market.