Interesting alternative to traditional bug sprays here.
Kiribai is a Japanese company that specializes in high-function products like pocket warmers, pressure activated ice packets and bug repellants.
The Mushi Guard Clip is a convenient way to keep pests away. According to the package, you just clip it on your cap or a pocket and bugs will stay at least one meter away. It works for a month and costs around 600 yen retail.
In Japan over the past couple of years, we've seen washable wool in everything from Konaka men's suits to sweaters by UNIQLO.
And now it turns out that manufacturers of women's suits are getting in the game too. Last week a Nikkei article mentioned that Isetan recently teamed up with Inéd, a popular brand amongst Japanese office ladies, to offer limited-edition, washable Inéd suits at prices comparable to the brand's regular offerings.
In tough economic times, shoppers start thinking hard about justifying each purchase they make, and providing a "reason why" allows them to spend more freely. "Just think about how much I can save on dry cleaning costs. . ."
Although it's not an answer for everybody, leveraging new technology like this may be one way to get Japanese consumers to revisit your brand. It's worked before on products that were technology-oriented to begin with, and also on items like fashion and sweets—normally not the kinds of things sold on functional benefits in other countries.
If you're from a western country where carton vinos are well established, you might be forgiven for assuming that these are the Japanese version of bottle-less wines.
Of course, that's not quite the case. In reality, Spavino is a kind of liquid bath salt that contains wine as one of the main ingredients. Apparently the brand was inspired by European spas (hence the name) which have been using wine-spiked soaks as part of their treatments to give women tighter, smoother ski.
Been so busy these past few weeks I didn't get a chance to mention this ground-breaking new media that appeared on Tokyo trains about a month ago.
Japanese printing companies have started offering advertisers the ability to display moving pictures on paper advertisements.
The above ad announces the debut of a new mascara from Lancome that uses a vibrating applicator brush. The poster is made from electronic paper—a technology that allows paper to be written and rewritten repeatedly. So what you're looking at is essentially a paper poster hanging from the ceiling of a subway train in which the image changes.
Similarly some train stations are now equipped with poster banks for electronic paper ads that can refresh with new images at specific intervals. If you're an advertiser and you rent the space, you can replace the ad whenever you want while sitting right at your office desk, since the wall frames are connected to PHS phone networks that tap into the internet.
Whoa. I had to do a double take when I saw the latest offering from Japan's Kirin Brewery.
No, they're not giving away free brews (awwww). "Kirin Free" is a malty tasting beverage that's free of alcohol (the package shouts "0.00% alcohol").
What's the point?
A good question, since anybody who's spent even a single night out in Tokyo knows that the Japanese like their beer—and the buzz it provides.
But it turns out that Kirin is positioning FREE as "beer" for people who want to drink and then be able to drive, and for sports enthusiasts who like to quench their thirst with a beer, but don't want to get hammered on the golf course or tennis court.
I don't know if FREE is going to emerge as a big seller for Kirin in the long run (I doubt it), but at the very least it's as good a gimmick as any to spur a short-term jump in sales since a lot of people are going to buy at least one can just to see what it tastes like.
With today's difficult economic environment, a lot of Japanese consumers have been pinching pennies more than ever before (well, pinching yen anyway). As a result, major Japanese supermarket chains have been slashing prices, and this has put a lot of pressure on smaller operators who lack the same economies of scale and bargaining power with suppliers.
But a couple of smaller chains have stopped wringing their hands, and have been fighting back with a clever approach: subsidized price cuts.