Umino Design & Branding, Case study DESIGN NORI (SEAWEED) by I&S BBDO Tokyo

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Industry Retail, Distribution & Rental companies, Grocery and Other foods
Media Design & Branding, Case study
Market Japan
Agency I&S BBDO Tokyo
Executive Creative Director Yoshihisa Ogata
Copywriter Ririko Murata, Kiyoyuki Enomoto
Photographer Yasunari Kurosawa
Strategic Planner Koji Onishi
Released January 2010


Cannes Lions 2012
Design Lions Promotional Item Design Gold
Design Lions i. Own Label and Private Label brands Bronze

Credits & Description

Category: Promotional Item Design
Product/Service: SEAWEED
Agency: I&S BBDO
Creative Director/Art Director/Designer: Kenichiro Shigetomi (I&S BBDO)
Copywriter: Ririko Murata (I&S BBDO)
Copywriter: Kiyoyuki Enomoto (I&S BBDO)
Strategic Planner: Koji Onishi (I&S BBDO)
Executive Creative Director: Yoshihisa Ogata (I&S BBDO)
Photographer: Yasunari Kurosawa (Massdriver)
Media placement: Sampling - Streets - 01 August 2011
Media placement: Twitter - Twitter - 11 June 2011
Media placement: Facebook - Facebook - 01 August 2011

Describe the brief from the client
Our client is a traditional manufacturer of NORI (seaweed) in North East Japan, who has struggled with the long declining category trend, and with damage from the tsunami that swept away their factories.
The client wanted us to design new packaging that can reinforce its appeal to the modern urban audience.

Describe the challenges and key objectives
We needed to make NORI appealing among young urban audience - but how?
It is nothing more than a black square of seaweed, with its primitive design that has not changed since its creation in the early 15th century.
People perceived it as a commonplace product and paid little attention on the difference among the brands. A visible difference is needed for our brand.

Describe how you arrived at the final design
We decided to apply design thinking to the product itself, instead of focusing exclusively on packaging, Laser cutters are used to carve designs into our NORI - classic patterns from Japanese history called ‘Monyo’ which signify growth, beauty, luck, and so on. Themes we thought that could uplift people in the disastrous year.
By combining authentic tradition with modern technology, we created an entirely new type of NORI, never seen before - one that conveys our hopes for the future, as well as our respect for the past.

Give some indication of how successful the outcome was in the market
With great amount of viral and WOM generated among design-conscious urban audience, Design NORI is currently scheduled to be exhibited at National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, and 2 other famous museums in Tokyo and Mie Prefecture starting from April 6.
The design not only helped refresh the static category image, but also remarkably boosted our client’s profile nationwide