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Should japanese brands talk up their nationality?

May 27, 2007

Anderson Analytics recently conducted an interesting study to understand if US college students (1,000 sample) knew the country of origin of certain brands and rank the best countries of origin for specific categories.

Students want their cellphones, MP3 players, stereo systems and cars to be Japanese and their computers, clothing and chocolate to be American. They would also like their watches to be Swiss.

The problem is that they appear to have no idea the country of origin for the world’s leading brands:

58% thought Samsung was Japanese, not Korean

53% thought Nokia was Japanese, not Finnish

49% thought Adidas was American, not German

Clearly, for certain brands, it pays to stay quiet, but perhaps now is the time for the Japanese brands to come out of their shell and to take pride in their nationality.

That was BBDO’s plan when it won the Mitsubishi account in 2005.

“The advertising recognizes the influence of Japanese pop culture on American popular culture. It embraces Mitsubishi’s hip, cool Japanese roots, which is reflected in the music, design, structure and animation of the campaign. From the syncopated beat of Kodo drums to the distinctly current spin of the Mitsubishi logo, the advertising boldly speaks to consumers, asking ‘why satisfy when you can thrill?'”

Dave Lubars-BBDO

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