Stereotypes can sometimes be correct, and we Americans like to consider our Japanese friends to be technologically savvy. Moreso than us, in some cases.
So it should come as no surprise that Japan is embracing burgeoning new social media outlets - like Twitter. Myspace and Facebook (News - Alert) have also tried to break into the market, but it's Twitter that the Japanese love. Perhaps it's the cute name or the on-the-go quick updating capabilities - who can say?! But the statistics
express volumes - 16.3 percent of Japanese people Tweet, compared to 9.8 percent of Americans.
Twitter launched its Japanese version back in 2008, in conjunction with its partner, Digital Garage. The feedback has been rolling in ever since. According to a June 1, 2010 post in The Japan Pulse (News - Alert), a subsite of The Japan Times, Twitter had almost 10 million views in April. The Pulse also reported that 95 percent of the Japanese people polled had heard of Twitter. That's a whole lot of social conciousness - could Twitter be the answer marketing executives have been looking for?
According to The Pulse, the first Japanese corporations to delve into the Twitter medium did so rather aimlessly - providing random conversational tidbits and Twitter-only coupons and discounts. These were met almost automatically with reply messages about the company's product or shop that were posted in the common format 'I'm at FamilyMart/eating udon/drinking coffee now.'
The 'holler-back' style of corporate Tweeting is no longer the current fad. Reportedly, companies are focused on new, imaginative campaigns in which they feature imaginative storylines, odd-ball characters, entire storylines and complex kinds of feeback and interaction,
The Pulse gives a specific case example regarding a Twitter ad-campaign Coca Cola fostered. 'Coca-Cola Japan has made creative accounts for a few of its drinks. A samurai drama unfolded one tweet at a time to promote Espresso Blux, one of Coca-Cola's Georgia brand's two dozen canned coffee varieties. Jumping on the popularity of Ryoma Sakamoto and historical dramas, the campaign ran subway ads and cliffhanger TV commercials depicting Nobunaga Oda under his final siege and the tagline 'continued on Twitter.' The custom Twitter site posed the question 'What if Nobunaga had survived the attack on Honno-ji in 1582?' via an alternative history story tweeted by a cast of characters with hand-drawn avatars. The connection between the drink and Twitter is in the catchphrase: Good things should be savored bit by bit.'
The Pulse reports that Japan-based companies like Lawson, a chain convenience store and Uniqlo, a fast-fashion retailer, are hopping on the Twitter advertising bandwagon.