Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Seminar Marketing Project

Last semester my seminar students carried out a small-scale marketing project. I divided the seminar into 4 groups and gave each group a typical British biscuit or cake to market in Japan. The 4 items were shortbread, gingerbread, arctic roll and cupcakes. Each group created advertising for their product and `launched` it with a PowerPoint presentation. Through this project the students learned the following points. That any product and the marketing of any product must be adapted to the country and the customer. That the Japanese consumer is extremely particular about what they will buy and how they view themselves through their purchases.

The shortbread group chose to design a cafe specializing in shortbread, named Cafe Shovre (short for shortbread in Japanese). It sounds European and therefore fashionable. The cafe is situated in an upmarket area of Tokyo and is aimed at wealthy people, particularly housewives with free time to meet their friends. There is a terrace for dogs. (Dogs are an indicator of status in Japan. The most popular dogs are extremely expensive and of course need space to live, an expensive commodity in central Tokyo.) They therefore marketed shortbread as an international, aspirational biscuit.

The gingerbread group tapped into the trend for wholesome, colour and additive-free foods. Their Ginger Ranger range could also be fun. Customers could ice their biscuits themselves. This range was aimed firmly at mothers and children. Although the poster shows gingerbread people, the group did not feel that this shape would be as popular as, for instance, gingerbread houses. They said most Japanese would feel like cannibals biting the leg off a Ginger Ranger.

The artic roll group initially floundered as this cake has never been produced in Japan. However their survey of students and friends showed that many Japanese wanted to try it, especially as a summer treat. Their survey also showed that most Japanese would want to try green tea and black sugar flavour, as you can see above. It may look like mould to most Westerners but green foods in Japan look delicious and healthy. The artic roll would be sold in convenience stores and was marketed as a family dessert.

And the cupcake group? More on them tomorrow.

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