by Five by Fifty
Sony tried an interesting new tactic to mark the release of its new, slimline PS3 this month by focusing not on the console itself, but on the consumers. The Playface concept captures the emotions of gaming with a series of films documenting the expressions of joy, anguish, and disappointment of gamers as they play. The campaign also included a traveling caravan to shoot the faces of real people playing PS3 across Japan.
In the latest in a string of marketing campaigns trying to cheer people up, LOFT in Shibuya launched Pop Box—Fight, a pop-up space in the store to encourage people to ‘fight’ against the bad times. LOFT invited 40 collaborating artists to take part in the campaign, such as the creator of the Ashitano Joe boxing anime. Some of the artists performed live, and all of them created special products such postcards and tenugui hand cloths for the occasion.
One of New York’s most fashionable select stores, Opening Ceremony, has launched in the Movida section of Seibu. Half of New York was in Tokyo at the end of August for the launch party, including celebs the Olsen twins and Kirsten Dunst. Several high-end select shops have closed recently, so the store’s founders Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are taking a very public risk with this one.
A new mini department store for men opened last month in Shibuya that is an interesting hybrid of third space and concierge. As well as a concept café, Manduka is a fusion space of music and art, open until 3am on weekends, and a roof garden appeals to growing eco-consciousness. There are plenty of gifts for women on offer, making this a safe place for guys to buy presents, with female staff on hand to give advice.
When it comes to brand mascots, few in Japan compare with Peko-chan, the lip-lickingly cute face of the Fujiya confectionary company. In early September, police arrested a gangster in Wakayama Prefecture for allegedly stealing a one-meter-tall Peko-chan doll from outside a Fujiya store, one of at least ten such disappearances in the prefecture. It seems the black market for the dolls is lucrative, with collectors prepared to pay as much as ¥200,000 per doll. Now that’s brand loyalty!
42—The number of citizens of Iceland registered as living in Japan, according to one of them.