By Melissa Francis
Across social media platforms, the #おうち時間 (#AtHomeTime) hashtag has been widely used to demonstrate how people can make the most of their time spent at home during lockdown, owing to restrictions on mass gatherings and days out. Travel is normally especially popular during Golden Week 2020 in Japan, with many workers choosing to go abroad or pick a destination within Japan for at least a few days.
Given the current situation, as locals may be wanting to find other ways to entertain themselves, brands are honing in on ways to maximise indoor enjoyment primarily those offering food and entertainment services. Let’s take a look at some of the Golden Week campaigns set in motion by brands in these two sectors, both local and international.
Golden Week 2020 Food Takeaway and Delivery
Even though physically going to a restaurant might not be possible, or indeed advisable, a number of brands are still offering promotional deals as part of their delivery or takeaway service.
Despite being a longstanding favourite at Christmas, KFC Japan has been working on becoming more relevant during other holiday periods in Japan. For Golden Week 2020, they’re releasing their ‘Golden Week Pack’, which includes the newly released Choco Pie—a cripy outer chocolate coating filled with an oozing melty chocolate inside.
The Golden Week Pack is nowhere near as substantial as the KFC bucket, but coming in at a cost of ¥1,500 JPY (around $13.70), the portion is designed to be shared between just two people as opposed to a group of family members or friends. The offer is available from 22nd April, prior to the start of Golden Week itself, with the Choco Pie temporarily discounted to ¥180 down from the standard price of ¥230.
Uber Eats Japan
Uber Eats Japan is running a campaign with the tagline “everyday is a day to commemorate”, featuring a new dish every day for customers to enjoy from the comfort of their own home. With the offerings changing every day, the themes are largely split into certain types of dishes or make use of a specified ingredient (Matcha Day, Melon Day, and International No Diet Day—when luxurious and filling sweets are recommended).
Uber Eats Japan has also incorporated the power of wordplay into the campaign by dubbing 8th May as ‘GO ATE (EAT)!’ Day — to break this down linguistically, in Japanese the number 5 is pronounced go, so this is followed by the English eight which is then linked to the idea of eating.
Also ramping up its Golden Week 2020 offering in the fast-food space is McDonald’s Japan. As with KFC, McDonald’s is running its celebratory campaign early from 22nd April and ending on 12th May.
A 15-piece Chicken McNugget box is accompanied by a choice of sauces, including the limited edition Cheddar Cheese and Corn Potage Soup flavours, designed to appeal to adults and children alike. The chain has kept this all relevant to social distancing by packaging the nuggets in cardboard boxes featuring illustrations of the various McNugget characters staying inside while offering views through their house window. This acts as a playful, gentle reminder to customers.
Local beef bowl chain restaurant Yoshinoya has also been concentrating on promoting its takeaway and delivery options (recently, these have comprised more than 60% of total sales as a result of new consumer behaviour). In the spotlight are two discounted family meal sets, providing a selection for either three or four people.
Although this promotion is not strictly positioned as a Golden Week 2020 deal per se, the campaign period happens to coincide with it. Yoshinoya has also stated that it considers gyuudon (beef bowls) to be a central part of Japan’s ‘social infrastructure’. As such, the chain is striving to ensure this part of culinary culture is accessible by citizens while they navigate this crisis, especially those who are actively working to keep the country running.
Golden Week 2020 Entertainment
Golden Week offerings relating to entertainment platforms, including streaming, gaming and reading tend to involve participation-based discounts. For instance, for purchases made via PayPay on the ebookjapan website, users can receive 10% of the value back, with Yahoo! Premium and Softbank Y! Mobile subscribers being able to access an even higher rate, with up to 20% cashback. This promotion is then compounded by offering a Friday-only deal that pushes the discount to a maximum saving to 50%—again, the level of reward is dependent on user registration with the previously mentioned services. Doing this gives fans of ebooks an incentive to purchase at least one more download during the campaign period.
The official news source for the Sword Art Online game is running a pre-Golden Week social media campaign via Twitter which gives users the chance to win rewards when they reach specified in-game targets and follow the outlined sharing and commenting guidelines. Some brands are also doubling up on their celebrations by combining anniversaries with Golden Week. An example of this is mobile game Battlecats, an app developed by PONOS Corp. which is celebrating its seventh anniversary in 2020. PONOS has already gone all out selling merchandise featuring its mascot nyanko character, but for Golden Week 2020 there’s in-game extras and social media competitions to further engage fans. A series of four commercials were released to promote the event.
What can foreign brands learn from this?
Foreign brands in Japan looking to increase engagement during holiday periods can take inspiration from these Golden Week 2020 examples. Discounts and special events that make users feel valued and connected with the product or service in question can be really effective when implemented well.
Related to this is seasonal marketing, which we covered in a previous post. Check it out here, or get in touch with us if you want to discuss your brand in particular, if not for Golden Week 2020, for 2021!