Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Daily deal sites tap into buying power in numbers

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Q:Pod is Japan's most popular daily deal site

Q:Pod, Japan’s most popular daily deal site

The idea of flash marketing websites, imported from the States in spring this year, has quickly proven to be a big hit with Japanese consumers looking to snag significant discounts on goods and services. Localized discounts are offered for a limited period and often in excess of 50 percent, for things such as meals in restaurants, hotel accommodations, beauty treatments and so forth. The key to the concept’s success is the use-it-or-lose-it approach to campaigns. An offer is withdrawn if the target number of takers isn’t met, thus guaranteeing a positive response to businesses, large and small.

Q:Pod, according to J-Cast, have already taken the lead in sales compared to their competitors, despite the fact they’ve only been operating for several months. According to Asiajin, their success spurred Chicago-based Groupon to buy a majority stake in the company, meaning that the company now dominate the daily deal market in Japan as well as in the United States.

A recent Q:Pod offer shows just how sweet the deals can be: 80 percent off the price of a ¥1,500  iTunes download card. The offer triggered a stampede of consumers applying to get their mitts on one of the ¥300 cards, whose numbers were limited to 10,000.

Other businesses have been jumping on the bandwagon. Recruit, for example, who already run Hot Pepper, a successful free magazine and website that offers discounts on restaurants, launched Pom Parade in July. The site offers daily deals on golf weekends, yoga, spa visits and meals out. In addition to Q:Pod clones, sites that specialize in particular products and services, such as Yaki Niku Pon, for fans of Korean barbecue, or Wotapon, for otaku (fancy a discount on a massage at a Akihabara maid cafe?), have begun to pop up.

Deals are announced to subscribers via e-mail newsletters, Tweets or Facebook updates, making it hard for consumers to keep pace with the vast number of offers available. Those who really want to stay ahead of the game can visit All Coupon, a website that aggregates information on daily deals across the board, saving you time searching out deals yourself.

Tachiyomi: Do it on your device

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Browse the latest magazine with Seven Net Shopping's tachi-yomi app.

Browse the latest magazine with Seven Net Shopping’s tachi-yomi app.

Japan came a little late to the Twitter party, but it has quickly made up for lost time.  And it’s not just individual users that have been fueling the Twitter boom.  Forward-thinking Japanese companies have also embraced the micro-blogging revolution in a big way, by developing Twitter marketing campaigns, offering Twi-wari discounts, incorporating Twitter into social games, and mining Twitter for valuable customer feedback.

The latest Japanese practice to be Twitterized is the fine art of tachiyomi (立ち読み) – browsing comics and magazines for free before you purchase them.

Tachiyomi, which literally means “stand and read,” can be observed 24/7 at one of the over 40,000 convenience stores or many of the bookstores in Japan. Most stores will allow customers to stand in front of the magazine rack and read through the comics with impunity.

Yamasa Shoyu, a soy sauce company, has taken the term and applied it to the manga-based marketing campaign for their new disposable 200-ml packs of soy sauce. The series is titled “Soy Sauce Magician” and is written by the manga team Masayuki Izumi, which consists of writer Haruki Izumi and artist Masayuki Kusumi, who have released several food-themed manga. By scanning a barcode on the product with their mobile phones, customers can finish reading a comic, the beginning of which has been posted on Twitpic.

Seven Elevens will start selling the packs of soy sauce on Aug. 9, and they will be available at other convenience store chains from Aug. 23. Beyond Twitpic, the two-comic series is being promoted on  Twitter and YouTube. While the comic is mostly just a silly ode to shoyu, highlighting the various uses of the miracle sauce, Yamasa Shoyu gets points for spirit.

Yamasa Shoyu has released a mini-comic they've termed "tachi-yomi." It highlights various uses of soy sauce.

Yamasa Shoyu has released a mini-comic they’ve termed “tachi-yomi.” It highlights various uses of soy sauce.

Seven Net Shopping, the online arm of Seven and iHoldings that runs the Seven Eleven convenience stores, offers a more realistic digital version of tachiyomi for iPad and iPhone with their new app “Seven de Tachiyomi.” The free app is a digital bookshelf where you can browse popular magazines (such as Brutus, Pia, Real Design and Pen) and even a few books. The number of preview pages varies by magazines from three to 20 or so. Unfortunately that’s as far as the digitalization goes – customers looking for more will have to order a paper version of the magazine from the Seven Net Shopping site or, ironically, be forced to get up and haul themselves to the closest brick-and-mortar konbini to buy a copy

Pulsations (7.22.10)

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Here are the latest Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are . . .

PR News wants you to tweet the news

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Let us boost your retweets!

Let us boost your retweets!

Twitter’s march through Japan’s business landscape continues as PR News launches Social Release, a service that uses Twitter streams and Facebook pages to distribute press releases.

While companies pay to have their press releases pushed out onto the service, Twitter users spread the word for free by signing up for a separate service called Social Post. By doing so, these users allow PR News to distribute press release links via their Twitter streams. Users can choose the genres they’ll shill for and the ratio of their tweets that they will allow to be PR. The default setting is to send out ads for all topics, frequently.  The tweets come up with “[Social Post]” tagged at the beginning or end, lest followers wonder why you’ve suddenly started speaking PR-ese and spouting random links.

The service is included in the price of putting out a conventional release on PR News, or, as a separate package,  starts at ¥38,000 for a single blast. Monthly rates are around ¥70,000.

PR News says that more than 65,000 Twitter and Facebook users have already signed up to be part of Social Post. This must sound attractive to companies needing exposure, but initial reaction is mixed. One user who experimented with it complained that the system was “uzai” (annoying); another said he wanted to disconnect his account from it, though at least a few more PR blurbs went out after his WTF tweet.

The potential benefits on the company side, however, are clear: Their messages will be coming out in semi-natural sound bytes, from the virtual mouths of thousands of users at once. It will be interesting to see who is willing to give a portion of their content over to spontaneously posted, luck-of-the-draw links, though we can see this as perhaps appealing to understaffed corporate Twitter accounts or niche news accounts as a way to bulk up their chatter. PR News says it’s aiming to have 1 million accounts spreading the word by March of 2011.

It strikes us as a bit like giving people a pile of flyers and asking them to hand them out to their friends, again and again. For free. To sweeten the so-called deal, for a limited time, PR News is offering registered social posters the chance to win a book voucher worth ¥500. Would this be enough for you to carry a sandwich board? If so, you’ve got until July 26 to sign up.

Pulsations (06.23.10)

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Pulsations? Glad you asked. They’re links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers, and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy.

In no particular order, they are …

Virtual versions map out real benefits of Tokyo localities

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

The beta virtual version of Asagaya went live last week

The beta virtual version of Asagaya went live last week

Virtual versions of Asagaya and Ogikubo in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward went on line last week as local information service Lococom launched beta versions of its newest project, Jimotonow. An extension of the service Lococom already provides, visitors can view tweets from local shops, get coupons for local stores and read shop blogs. Whereas in Locomo you chose the particular area and service you are searching for from drop down menu’s, Jimotonow gives the user more of a feeling of browsing the bohemian streets of these towns and is great way for people who live in the area or are planning to visit, to uncover an interesting little shop or find out about a local festival. The addition of tweets also means that the personalities of local shopkeepers come through.

Waribikiken (discount coupons) are very popular in Japan, and Jimotonow will be going up against already popular websites like Coupon Land and FooMoo. Tokyo-based FooMoo (also known as Hot Pepper) is usually the destination of choice for people looking to dine out; dedicated to restaurants, the site and sister print magazine offers a mind-boggling array of area-specific offers. Similarly, Coupon Land also has a magazine as well as a website and offers not only coupons on dining but also services aimed at women, such as beauty treatments, cosmetic surgery and evening classes.

Jimotonow definitely has the edge of FooMoo and Coupon Land in terms of the range of services on offer. We also like the fact that it has a friendly feel, offering a local flavor that its rivals lack. Many bargain hunters in Japan, however, still favor the old school system of clipping out coupons from a physical magazine and this is where FooMoo and Coupon Land stay ahead of the game by giving out free site-specific magazines at train stations.

Of course many towns already have their own physical guides to the area. In Koenji, for example, the local shopkeepers association distribute a small pamphlet that provides local news and discounts. However, it might make more sense in the future both for the environment and in terms of cost-cutting for local businesses to get on board with websites like Jimotonow.

Japanese Twitter marketing campaigns make some noise

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Twitter’s little blue bird has landed in Japan and looks like it might stick around to build a nest: The microblogging site had almost 10 million views in April from Japan. Ninety-five percent of people polled in a recent survey said they knew about Twitter. Granted, goo Research and japan.internet.com surveyed 1,077 people who were already online, so we’d expect higher recognition than if they polled people on the street. But still, a huge increase from 12% in a similar survey taken at the same time last year. The tweet designated as the 15 billionth this past weekend was in Japanese. For the final nudge, Twitter will come pre-installed on 13 of SoftBank’s new phones this summer, and a free Twitter app for NTT DoCoMo’s keitai has just been announced.

From a marketer’s point of view, that’s a lot of potential consumers. How to grab their attention and keep it? The first wave of Japanese corporate Twitter accounts to play with the medium mostly chatted a bit aimlessly and offered Twitter-only discounts. Many of the accounts replied automatically to messages about the company’s product or shop that were posted in the common format “I’m at FamilyMart/eating udon/drinking coffee now.”

Continue reading about creative Twitter campaigns in Japan →

New ABC’s of motherhood in Japan: Apps, Beer and Crying

Friday, May 14th, 2010

The rewards of having a baby: the precious coos and smiles, the joy of continuing the human race, the free beer. Free beer? Sort of.

Kirin Beer is promoting healthy maternal drinking habits – and, coincidentally, its one-year-old Kirin Free beer – by giving cans of the alcohol-free brew to new mothers on their way out of the maternity ward. Free is among the ranks of last year’s wave of un-beers, which includes Suntory Fine Zero, Sapporo Super Clear and Asahi Point Zero. Free seems to be the only one explicitly targeting new mothers; their original campaign focused on pregnant women but this recent campaign marks a shift to post-partum partying.

And new moms who had the presence of mind to get on Twitter and announce their delivery on the  microblogging site are rewarded not only with a bunch of 140-character congratulations, but with an Stop Baby CryiPhone app, too. BabyBlog will send a free copy of its photo cataloging app to the first 100 parents each month to tweet 「出産なう!」(shussan nau), Japanese Twitter-speak for “I’m delivering a baby now.”

And hope the iPhone is still nearby when the tweets become a repeated string of “the baby is crying now.”  Not surprisingly, some of the top-ranking paid apps in the “medical” section of  Japan’s iPhone App store are baby soothers, including Stop Cry Baby Sound, Baby Smile and Baby Sleep.

Getting out of the house might be a welcome idea when the bundle of joy gets a little bigger. The women’s division of Japanese web portal Excite launched a mobile “Mama support” site this week with an “Out with Mama” directory. It lists “mom-oriented” details for about 20,000 entertainment, shopping and health-care venues around the Kanto and Kansai areas where babies are welcome, including vital data like whether there are places to nurse and if strollers can be wheeled in. The site, in Japanese only, is available on on the three main cell phone carriers, and unlimited access costs ¥210 a month.

Could any of these be the elusive population-boosting incentive the graying country’s been waiting for?

Finally, if the kid’s going to cry anyway, might as well make a sport of it. People have been getting a kick out of Asakusa’s relatively new take on the centuries-old tradition of nakizumou, a contest in which young sumo wrestlers compete to see who can make a baby cry the loudest. It’s all for the greater good – the tradition apparently comes from the old proverb “A crying baby grows up strong,” so it’s good luck if your kid cries.

Just keep telling yourself that.

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