A Marketer’s View of Tokyo

by Chris Kenton on March 12, 2008

I’m wrapping up my trip in Tokyo and heading to the airport. I’ll have some more thoughts over the coming days, but in the meantime, I figured no marketing blog about Tokyo would be complete without some images.

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Dog Wiz. Your one-stop shop for all your doggy needs. Hmm. What does "Wiz" mean? The tagline posted on the door gives an opaque clue. "The Happy Forest".

Like Americans, the Japanese spend huge amounts of money on their pets. Even when they’re gone.

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Also like America, Japan is an intensely consumer-driven culture. Advertising and marketing is everywhere, and every surface imaginable is used for pitching products, sometimes even surfaces you wouldn’t imagine are usable.

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This is mind-boggling. The melon see below is priced at $250. It’s sitting on a shelf full of $250 melons, each individually packaged. In Japan, there is no tipping for services, but gifts are given frequently to associates and service providers. Combine a gift-giving culture with an intense social status imperative, and you get $250 melons. Giving a $250 melon shows you’ve got some serious mojo. Apparently melons like this are prime candidates for serial regifting, since the value of giving it as a gift is worth more than the joy of eating it.

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Tokyo has some of the best cuisine in the world. Not only Japanese cuisine, but incredible French, Chinese, Indian and other international cuisines. Unfortunately, American cuisine seems mostly limited to chains that are long dead, or dying, in the US. Shakey’s Pizza, Denny’s, Sizzler. Apparently Starbucks is a godsend, however. My partner here tells me that before Starbucks, a really bad cup of coffee would cost you $15 dollars. Now, $7 lattes are a bargain.

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How could I write a marketing post about Tokyo without a little bit of Engrish? Img_0269

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