3 bizarre marketing tactics from Japan


The elegance of sushi alone ought to tell you that the Japanese expect more than just nourishment from their food. In Japan, food is an entertaining adventure potentially full of surprises. CEO of McDonald's JapanEiko Harada attributes falling sales to the inability to "astonish" their customers (Japan Today). Pizza marketing in Japan takes unusual turns to meet consumer demand for amazing. Below are 3 ways Japanese pizza companies are keeping their customers' jaws dropping.

Absurd Interactive Challenges

In a markedly homogenous country, customers get discounts for showing how unique they are. Last year Domino's offered a 25% off discount to people who have one of the following:

• Facial hair
• Pigtails
• Four kanji characters in your last name
• A twin
• 1980s clothing, like shoulder pads or a skin-tight mini-skirt
• A high school uniform
• A parrot
• A dorky t-shirt
• A rural Japanese dialect

Having all of these characteristics simultaneously will score you a full 50% off of the normal price (Kotaku). Non-competitive, silly competitions like this one give customers a chance to identify with a demographic they're proud of and bring more business to your store.

Amazing interactive apps

Domino's USA has developed a greatpizzaapp where customers can quickly order a pizza and track its delivery.

But Domino's Japan has goneabove and beyond with an that app includes all the functionality of ordering and tracking your pizza plus the ability to mix yourown songs and have them sung by a giggling blue-haired anime cartoon named Miku. With the photo options you're able to pose with her or insert her into pictures with your pizza. See the video which explains the app.

Theapp offersaugmented reality that works in combination with the Domino's pizza box. App users who view their pizza box through their camera viewfinder will see it magically transform into adisco dance floor where Miku dances and singsunder a hovering Domino's disco ball logo. The app is in collaboration with thealready exisiting vocaloid software created by Crypton Future Media.

This promotion was so successful that the specially printed pizza boxes thought to last until May sold out in March, the first month of the release (Anime News Network). What could you put on your boxes to make the customer particularly excited about receiving them?

Free Collectable Gifts

Perhaps it's more of a classic approach, partnering up with a popular TV show or game to get customers' attention. Japanese pizza chain Pizza-la gives away free Pokemon memorabilia with each order such asglass bowl featuring Pikachu.Here the customer was able to select which version she wanted when she ordered her pizza. The bowl includes the name of the pizzeria, making this free gift for the customer free advertising for the pizzeria.
If you're not in with the big TV show producers, you can get custom cups created to represent a local sports team or university and work pizza specials around getting those items. Customers will be glad to get a little something extra and your pizzeria will have a new presence in yourcustomers' home.