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.
While this poster from Meiji Seika might for a moment confuse some English speakers, the Japanese text beneath the headline makes the ad crystal clear to Japanese consumers: Xylish gum's juicy flavor now lasts longer.
I nearly got double-take whiplash from this poster series that was splashed all over Tokyo's Shibuya Station the other day (click for a larger view). Advertising MAX, a canned coffee brand from Coca-Cola Japan, the poster, roughly translated, screams "Totally super sweet coffee [that] gives you energy to the MAX".
I'd love to peek inside the creative/art directors' heads to see what else is lurking in there besides fragments of Superman and R. Crumb.
According to Walter Mossberger, who reviewed Sony's newest mini notebook, the VAIO P, for the Wall Street Journal, the device disappoints on performance.
"Vaio P is mainly undone because it comes with Vista Home Premium, the
edition of Windows that is sluggish and a memory hog. . . And
the Vista problem is made worse by the processor inside the machine,
which is an especially slow version of the Intel Atom chip often used
in netbooks.. . .[In tests], programs launched painfully slowly, delays
were common and start-up and reboot times were glacial. . .Video playback was choppy. . ."
But the posters SONY has been using to announce the launch in Japan are eye-catching and effective.
Who wouldn't want a sexy little computer you can carry around in your back pocket?
Apart from the numbingly clumsy and dull English copy (sadly, even today most Japanese companies can't be bothered to hire professional, native-English-speaking copywriters), the posters are eye-catching, and the copy does the job for the vast majority of passengers who are, obviously, Japanese.
H&M opened its first store in Japan this past Saturday, and as expected, Japanese consumers turned out in droves. We took a trip down to the Ginza location around 5 p.m., and by our reckoning, the line was still about 1,000 feet long. Japanese news outlets variously reported from 3,000 to 5,000 people waiting in line throughout the day, and store staff said the wait to get in the store was 2-3 hours.
Given the pre-opening news coverage and the enormous base of shoppers in Tokyo, a huge turnout was to be expected. But long lines in the first weeks or months of operation are no guarantee of success for retailers over the long term in Japan.
Japanese consumers are curious and like to try news things. But once they've encountered the brand, are they satisfied with the product, store, the company and service?
Those are the key questions that remain to be answered.