Last week, during one of my regular Twitter scroll marathons, all I could see was this picture plastered on my screen.
So who’s the dissected guy? Gojo Satoru from the manga, Jujutsu Kaisen. He’s been a fan favourite for a while, especially after Netflix streamed the anime as well as Crunchyroll (one of anime’s biggest streaming platforms). The anime, itself, became the most discussed show on Twitter in 2021, surpassing Squid Games and Wandavision! [s] Back to the guy though, he’s dead. The author of this manga, Gege Akutami, is infamous for killing off characters with a finesse even George R. R. Martin would be envious of.
But why does the internet care about this overpowered character? He was missing from the manga for 147 chapters, only for him to be reintroduced and wind up dead. Sure, it could be my own internet echo chamber, but there has been a noted rise in streaming anime.
In 2021, Crunchyroll achieved a significant milestone, registering its 120 millionth user. The same year, the platform also exceeded five million subscribers. [s] And these consumption tendencies point to a boom in the watchability of the genre; and, it’s not your regular popularity bubble. [s] This rise has also led to interesting developments in content consumption of anime-watchers. They’re generally on the younger side with almost 69% of Gen Z having watched at least one. [s]
People love the genre so much that they seek out the anime’s manga (Japanese for ‘comic book’) to find out what happens next. With Viz Media noting a 70% increase in demand in 2021 [s], consumers also have their eyes on the manga publishing world. Keeping track of which new anticipated series might blow their minds away. This has spilled over onto vertical-scroll digital comic platforms like Tapas Media, Webtoon, and Viz—which are gaining popularity in the western hemisphere. The industry is projected to grow to $11.12B by 2028. [s]
Interestingly, resulting in some comics being made into live action productions like Heartstopper being adapted into Netflix series. It’s been greenlit for a third season [s] and landed its author, Alice Oseman, her first BAFTA TV Nomination. [s] This trend has been happening for a while in the Korean drama space with a bucket load of k-dramas finding their roots in the platform—Your ID is Gangnam Beauty, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim, Extraordinary You, Cheese in the Trap, etc.
And that isn’t it, brands are adopting classic anime genres to either craft full fledged campaigns or even collaborate with production houses for limited edition collections. Keeping true to the game, they have been releasing manga and anime as a part of their tactical executions. Aiming to target the younger, newer consumer by conversing with them in their own social and content sphere. [s] With anime gaining rapid popularity in Ireland, it’ll be fun to watch how different Irish brands and agencies can tap into this to connect more authentically with their audiences.
Meanwhile, here’s our list of our 10 favourite pieces of work done in the advertising industry:
McDonald’s Japan “Slice of Life”
Recreating the ordinary lives of people through the lens of lo-fi music and an artstyle closely associated with the slice-of-life genre of anime. [s]
Ikea “Find Your Slice of Life”
Recreating the lives of three main characters living in different student spaces, giving different perspectives about what it’s like to go to college in the 2020s. [s] They also published a free manga to go with the videos.
Skechers “The Uno” Campaign with Doja Cat
It has drawn very candid inspiration from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures and Mortal Kombat.
KFC Colonel Sanders Dating Sim
Interesting execution done in 2019 to lock in on the dating simulation games and anime market with the rise of Japanese dating sim games.
Nissan “Lo-fi Girl in Ariya Car”
Nissan made a four hour lo-fi music video and put it up as a 6 min ad in front of the Sleeping Sheep’s Lo-fi Music Girl video. People were late to realise that there was a different girl in a different setting on the screen but were still on board with the music being played. [s] That simple thing led to a 75% increase in native searches and brand salience for Nissan. People actually ended up watching the ad itself, the video garnering 12M views. Reckon advertising can just be background noise sometimes?
Acura’s Type S vehicle “Chiaki’s Journey Anime”
Acura came up with one minute long episodes of an anime series titled Chiaki’s Journey, following Chiaki’s pursuits in race car driving. It was so popular with the audience that they demanded for a season 2, which Nissan came up with as an advertising campaign for its Integra Type S vehicle.
Duolingo x Crunchyroll
It was a tactical campaign to bring awareness to new additions to Duolingo’s Japanese course. Duolingo added popular anime phrases to their japanese course to add a fun element to learning languages. Their social media activation was massive, leading with a trailer collaboration between Crunchyroll’s vTuber, Hime-chan, and the Duolingo Bird. Hime-chan also did a 2 hour long livestream where she took the viewers through the new additions to the course.
Taco Bell Nacho Fries Announcement
The brand has always produced blockbuster-esque star-studded announcement trailers for its Nacho Fries promotion. A went a step ahead in 2021 by producing a mecha-vs-monsters anime, making it as emotionally packed as it is to be expected from the sub-genre. The video racked up 880K views before being unlisted, but was such a hit with its target audience that they wanted a mini-series to be streamed online.
Loewe x Studio Ghibli – My Neighbour Totoro Capsule Collection
Right after when the world started to first open up after the pandemic, it needed a bit of warmth, child-like hope and the wonder of magic. All of which Loewe’s creative director, Jonathan Anderson, brought to life by collaborating with Studio Ghibli. The two creative houses created two capsule collections based on Ghibli’s two most acclaimed and highest grossing movies–My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away.
Murphy’s Irish Stout “Last Orders”
Ireland is no stranger to tapping into the genre for advertising campaigns. Murphy’s Irish Stout came out with a 60-second advert in 1997 made by the creators of Ghost in the Shell showing 6 Samurais racing to a pub to make their “Last Orders”. In an interesting collaboration, a Japanese studio was commissioned to make a British advert for an Irish beer–a follow-up to their live action Brother’s Quay advert from 1996 showcasing a similar storyline.