Clarifying a cookware brand’s advertising strategy for Japan

Providing semiotic analysis around Japanese lifestyles and product usage context for a leading global cookware brand

SignSalad Tefal

We provided:

  • Timely semiotic analysis, comparing French and Japanese users
  • Easy-to-understand observations and actionable recommendations
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What was the brief?

Semiotics agency Sign Salad wanted to ensure that Tefal’s advertising campaigns are perceived positively in the Japanese market. To ensure insights reflected the realities of Japanese culture, they regularly turned to Tokyoesque to analyse and provide insight into the brand’s proposed TV ads.

How we approached things

  • Identifying subsets of Japanese society where scenarios such as men in the kitchen and non-Japanese food are a positive addition.
  • Pointing out that certain commonplace terminology in Western households (babysitter, roommate, etc.) can have negative associations if not used carefully.
  • Demonstrating that striking a balance between exotic & cool whilst being relatable would be key.
  • Always bringing discussions back to one, simple question – how would a Japanese consumer use these products?


We employed a combination of existing cultural knowledge and additional desk research.


Tokyoesque consistently added value for Tefal’s campaigns through:

  • Hands-on experience: Our bilingual, multi-cultural team was well placed to perceive even the subtlest of cultural differences between France and Japan.
  • Case studies: We demonstrated how similar products (both domestic and international) have been advertised in Japanese media as a point of cultural comparison.
  • Ad-hoc support: Our team was always available to further provide clarification when necessary.

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If you’d like to discuss how we can recruit and conduct research with industry experts in Japan—please let us know!