Love or flowers? Japan's January advertising battle
If the constant marketing was anything to go by, Christmas lasted nearly 2 months. In fact, I was in a hotel lobby this week that STILL had a Christmas tree in the corner...
Now that we're in mid-January, ads and brands in Japan are a bit confused.
Some of them are gearing up for Valentine's Day in February. And some have rolled out the fake cherry blossoms well in advance of the March/April season.
There are icky sakura-flavoured drinks on shelves, around the corner from... love-flavoured crisps? Probably love-flavoured crisps. Snack brands remake their packaging so you can write your amour's name on and give the gift of sexy food. Mmmmm.
Both events have a 'sweet pink' theme, which doesn't help when you're browsing the aisles. It's hard to tell whether limited edition pink goods are meant to be lovey-dovey or full of the joys of spring.
Obviously in marketing you have to think ahead and anticipate trends. But how far ahead?
(I heard that some shops in the UK had Easter eggs on their shelves on Boxing Day. That is, officially, too far ahead.)
As if anyone is going to buy a box of romantic chocs this week and hide them for a full month. I personally wouldn't have the willpower to leave it alone. Hell, if I have to wait until March to get chocolate from a man, I'm buying my own.
And what's the point of sipping on a sakura latte when the real cherry blossoms are still weeks away? The tree branches are bare. Sitting underneath a sakura tree now would make you look lonely.
I'd like to see some proper 'cherry blossom marketing' in action sometime. A strategy that matches what the flowers actually do.
People appreciate sakura because they're so fleeting - in full bloom for just a few days each year. The advertising around it should be the same. Special, limited and exclusive. Not dragged out for 8 weeks...