By Melissa Francis
Originally, this post aimed to highlight how brands were keeping the sense of excitement high among locals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Even though the COVID-19 situation has resulted in the event being postponed until the Summer of 2021, the marketing behind it no less relevant as inspiration. Here, we take a look at some of the Tokyo 2020 marketing campaigns run by both sponsors and non-sponsors alike with the objective of boosting audience engagement and intrigue around the event.
Tokyo 2020 Marketing for the Olympics
From March 9th running through until September 6th, Worldwide Partner Coca-Cola was selling limited edition packaging for their regular Coke bottles, featuring 50 different designs alongside the key message Isshou ni ichido ga, hajimatta (Once in a Lifetime has Begun) and Orinpikku wo ima kara ajiwaou (‘Let’s savour the taste of the Olympics starting now!’) In addition to the celebratory label designs, the brand also gave consumers the chance to win original Coca-Cola goods to enable them to enjoy the Olympics even more. The prizes include pin sets (available in 25 designs, with 1,000 of each being produced). It came in a branded sliding presentation box to add a touch of class.
From February 2020, the company also started running a campaign for its local Ayataka bottled tea brand which saw the packaging being redesigned with motifs representing themes including ‘victory’ and ‘good omen’. 20,200 people would receive prizes such as a drawstring tote bag, a teacup set, chopsticks and towels. The campaign timeframe was from March 9th until May 17th 2020.
Could Tokyo 2020 Facilitate a Wedding Boom?
The dawn of the Reiwa era in May 2019 saw the number of marriages in Japan double compared with the previous year. In an article for Yahoo! Japan by romance novelist Mika Naito, she states that although this was the case for the new era in Japan, national events such as the Olympics don’t usually trigger a desire to get married. Others reporting on this topic believe that there’s a chance that the increased feeling of unity can spark an accelerated sense of ‘togetherness’ and encourage people in Japan to set wedding dates when the Olympics is running. We have yet to witness whether couples will decide to tie the knot in Summer 2021 for that specific reason, or whether they will instead leave it to ‘fate’ and get married at their own pace.
NTT Docomo Smile Relay
Starting from December 2019, the aim of NTT’s ‘Smile Relay’ campaign was to get people excited about the Games by connecting their smiling faces via social media (Twitter and Instagram only). This was a lottery based competition in which users submitted their photographs or videos to have a chance of winning Olympics-related prizes. For the video campaign, there were two separate entry plans – the first enabled three selected winners to receive a special limited edition Olympics Samsung Galaxy S10+ exclusive to NTT (replete with wireless earbuds), while 17 people had a chance of receiving a premium beef gift worth ¥10,000 JPY.
The second entry plan enabled 5 people to win a pair of tickets to watch a live match at the Tokyo 2020 Games (the type of sport would be assigned randomly). 17 people choosing this plan had a chance of receiving a prepaid VISA gift card loaded with a value of ¥10,000 JPY. NTT’s campaign is designed to encourage everybody—regardless of age, gender, location, and other factors—to come together to celebrate the occasion. Even if they didn’t win a prize under one of the specified lottery plans, 50 individuals would also get an Olympic-branded tote bag as a consolation gift. The hashtags created especially for the social campaign were #みんなの聖火リレー (#EverybodysTorchRelay) and #チームNTT (#TeamNTT).
Tokyo 2020 Marketing for the Paralympics
Promoting reasons to watch and support the Paralympic Games
The Nippon Foundation Paralympic Support Center proposed four reasons to give the Paralympics a chance during Tokyo 2020, in line with Japan’s wider aims. The purpose of delivering these recommendations is to encourage Japanese citizens to help make Japan a more culturally diverse, accepting, and curious nation.
- Many of the sports are interesting beyond anything you can imagine—many Paralympic sports will simply be enjoyable to watch since they are not popular or regularly played in Japan.
- One’s sense of personal value will overwhelmingly increase—the courage of Paralympians to constantly push the boundaries should give viewers inspiration to do the same in everyday life.
- Learn more about diversity and inclusion—Japan is still largely behind in terms of fostering a strong sense of diversity in society, whether that’s in a professional or personal context, so watching the Paralympics should trigger people to educate themselves and create change.
- Contribute to international Sustainable Development Goals—With the G20 Summit having been held in Japan last year, sustainable development is also a hot topic, and Tokyo 2020 provides the opportunity to see some of Japan’s own goals in action.
NHK Anipara Paralympic Promotion
NHK, Japan’s foremost broadcaster and news source collaborated with manga artist Satoru Hiura to bring her stories about Paralympic athletes into the animated space. The series features short episodes with original characters, including Yui, a 26-year old office worker who wonders how she should interact with people who have disabilities. Along with a handful of Para-athletes, she discovers the joys of a wide range of para sports, from Boccia to Para-Badminton, Para-Cycling, and Wheelchair Rugby. Each episode introduces the viewer to the various aspects of competing in para sports and, in the process, offers an effortless teaching on how to celebrate diversity in an appropriate and non-discriminatory manner.
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