Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Seminar Marketing Project Part 2

And what did I learn from the project? When I showed the advertisements to Western friends, they assumed I had been teaching junior high school students. "But it`s all so childish" they noted. True. What it is, is amaterish and cute. Now this is partly because the students, like most Japanese students, have very little experience using computers. On mobile phones they can do anything but many students don`t even own a computer. Essays are hand-written, at least in the first year at university. The other reason is that slick and sophisticated is a Western concept, and one that many Japanese do not like or trust, at least until they spend some time abroad anc can learn to understand it. (And you can tell when that happens because their fashion sense changes.) `Cute` is the No. 1 brand in Japan. Think Hello Kitty. It`s fun, it`s not threatening, it`s nostalgic, like memories of your childhood. The idea of `growing up` in Japan is not a popular one.

I also learned that going out for coffee or tea and cake is a women-only pastime. Food is gendered and our survey results showed that no matter the price bracket no Japanese man is going to waste his money on a cake. For 500 yen he wants a whole meal. Japanese men choose their food by mass. A large cheap meal keeps you fuller for longer. That is their dining criteria.

Congratulations to all my seminar students. Next year, it`s thesis writing!

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