Tokyobling's Blog

AeLL エール – Idol Group Live

Posted in People by tokyobling on October 11, 2011

Sometimes you get opportunities to see or try things you’d never be interested in, just by chance. On Sunday evening I walked past Yasukuni Shrine and chanced upon a Thai festival taking place and I came right in time to enjoy the final song of the evening’s secret special guests, the four girl idol group AeLL – エール. AeLL stands for Activity eco Life with Love and is just as genki, kawaii and unbelievable as all the other idol groups active in Japan right now. A relatively new group, formed only in this year, the members are between 17 and 22, and in the first picture you can see them all, from left to right is Ms. Erika Nishi (西恵利香), Ms. Ai Shinozaki (篠崎愛), Ms. Kumi Takana (鷹那空実) and Ms. Haruna Shijou (石條遥梨). Ms. Nishi is the leader and from Saitama, all the others are from Tokyo. The most famous member in the group is probably Ms. Shinozaki. I am not a big fan of idol groups (in fact this is the first idol live I have ever seen) but it seems to be a big thing in Japan right now, riding on the waves of the popularity of AKB48 and taking after the epitome of all idol girl groups, Morning Musume. They were billed as special secret guests but but I wonder how secret it was since several hundred fans of the group had turned up, all cheering and doing that very uniquely fan-boy “otaku dance”. It was surprisingly hard to get good photos! I also think their manager needs to talk to the lighting people before their next live to make sure they get good light ups. Also there were so many fan boys gathered I could hardly see the stage. Most of these images are heavily cropped to spare you the fan boy heads and photographer elbows!

If you want to see more about this group, you can check out their official page here. Like all idol groups, you really shouldn’t google them at work, a lot of the things they do is absolutely NSFW. Including their videos, so save this for some home surfing.

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Giant Haruka Ayase Doll – Lumix Promotion

Posted in Advertising, People, Places, Stuff by tokyobling on October 6, 2010

I don’t know about their cameras, but Panasonic sure knows how to create a splash with their product promotion props! How about this 10m tall inflatable doll made in the likeness of Haruka Ayase (綾瀬はるか)? As I excited Shinjuku Station’s East Exit last one Friday night they were just unpacking this event, but I was lucky enough to be passing through the next day and managed to get some photos of the giantess! I don’t blame you if you haven’t heard of Haruka Ayase before (I certainly hadn’t) but she is well known on TV, Radio and movies here, most notably on the recent hit TV drama Rookies and the movie “My Girlfriend is A Cyborg”. I love that title, haven’t seen the movie yet though.

There was a booth set up so that you could try out their cameras right under her nose, and in case you got bored of the giant actress there was also a few model airplanes circling around for you to learn exactly how smart the little camera’s auto-focus is. It’s childish, but I love these kind of over the top marketing stunts!

For those not up to date on their Japanese electronics company marketing positions of late, Panasonic is a giant in the field. In the last two years they have ramped up all the marketing and PR efforts to a degree that leaves other similar companies eating dust and trying to play catch up. I don’t know if the strategy is paying off but let me tell you that their brand awareness ratings are sky high. It’s hard to find any media where they don’t rank number one in visibility. For us in marketing this is both good news and bad news. Good news is that any project we have, if Panasonic is doing something similar we can say to our bosses “well Panasonic is doing it so we should be doing it too”. Right now, Panasonic is the gold standard when it comes to Japanese marketing and PR. Perhaps this means we will see more giant dolls of famous people. I predict a giant Godzilla doll somewhere in Ginza before the end of next year. Remember where you read it first!

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