Japan brand management: Saatchi & Saatchi Japan CEO Philip Rubel talks about Lovemarks in Japan

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Japan brand management: brands often work differently in Japan. Saatchi & Saatchi Japan CEO Philip Rubel explains Lovemarks in Japan

Japan brand management: Saatchi & Saatchi Japan CEO Philip Rubel talks about Lovemarks in Japan
Japan brand management: Saatchi & Saatchi Japan CEO Philip Rubel talks about Lovemarks in Japan

by Gerhard Fasol

Philip Rubel, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon Tokyo KK gave a talk about “Lovemarks”, a concept in branding developed by Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts.

To understand Japan’s media landscape read the “Japan’s media” report.

The argument is that traditional “brands” are losing relevance because in our advanced “post-industrial” societies, function and technology are given, and can usually be rapidly reproduced or overtaken by competitors. Therefore, advertising based on function or technology does not work anymore. Another factor is the shift from traditional one-way media such as TV and print, to social media and peer-to-peer interactions, where anyone can publish anything about “brands” and “brands” cannot do anything about it directly. Thus traditional brands are dead. So, how can we get people to attach irrationally, beyond reason? Lasting relationships are not based on rational thinking.

Japan brand management: Lovemarks create loyalty which goes beyond reason

“Lovemarks” counter these effects: the concept of Lovemarks is to “create loyalty which goes beyond reason”. To create love for the Lovemarks. To get there, Saatchi & Saatchi believes in the “unreasonable” power of creativity: creativity can create loyalty beyond reason.

Philip Rubel showed us several examples of campaigns, mainly in Japan, which were successful far beyond expectations. These campaigns are based on creativity, incorporate surprise, appeal to emotion, and aim to exploit viral sharing on social media such as facebook and YouTube. Creativity is used to replace expensive traditional top-down one-way media such as TV and print, by social media, internet, YouTube and viral sharing and engagement. Here are some examples:

BMW films by Fallon

The issue was to develop the BMW brand in USA with limited budgets. BMW Films was a series of films created by famous directors and famous actors, which was uploaded to the BMWfilms.com website for download. BMW Films became famous, actors volunteered to appear, and download figures were far beyond plan.

SONY Bravia balls in San Francisco

Making of SONY Bravia balls

SONY Bravia paint

Godiva Love & Hug project for Valentine’s day 2013

For Valentine’s day 2013, Saatchi & Saatchi built a hugging robot, which people could hug, and the hugs were measured, rated, and photographed, and the results could be displayed on social network sites etc. The campaign is explained here on Saatchi & Saatchi’s website.


De’Longhi coffee campaign: Michelangelo’s David

De’Longhi had the issue of competing with much more powerful Nestle’s campaign centered on George Clooney. De’Longhi decided to use Michelangelo’s David, who is immensely popular in Japan – and who does not require actor’s fees…

Reebok Rajio Taiso

Radio Taiso is a morning gymnastics series, which Japan’s national radio and TV system NHK started back in 1928. Saatchi & Saatchi created an imitation of Radio Taiso using professional acrobats, and relied on viral marketing. The advertised brand name appears only very briefly at the end of the video clip – enough to create response far beyond expectations:

T-Mobile “Life’s for sharing” campaign

T-Mobile “Life’s for sharing” Royal Wedding episode currently has 27,539,402 views on YouTube:

Understand Japan’s media and advertising industries

Report on Japan’s Media (approx. 200 pages, pdf file)

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