Fukushima Minpo Promo, Case study SMILE FUKUSHIMA PROJECT by Dentsu Inc. Tokyo, Vector Group

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SMILE FUKUSHIMA PROJECT

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Industry Newspapers
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Japan
Agency Dentsu Inc. Tokyo
Director Sachiko Maeda, Yasuhiro Kitade, Hikaru Kumada, Tatsuyuki Nomura
Agency Vector Group
Released August 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Corporate Responsibility
Advertiser: FUKUSHIMA MINPO
Product/Service: NEWSPAPER
Agency: DENTSU
Agency: VECTOR GROUP
President: Seiichi Watanabe (Fukushima Minpo)
Executive Director: Masato Yamori (Fukushima Minpo)
Senior Director: Kouichi Yoshimi (Fukushima Minpo)
Director: Tatsuyuki Nomura (Fukushima Minpo)
Director: Hikaru Kumada (Fukushima Minpo)
: Kazushi Watanabe (Fukushima Minpo)
: Katsuya Kusano (Fukushima Minpo)
: Takehiro Kadono (Fukushima Minpo)
: Toshihiro Taguchi (Fukushima Minpo)
: Toshinori Imaizumi (Fukushima Minpo)
: Hattori Nobuaki (Dentsu)
: Youhei Saito (Dentsu)
: Ai Sakamoto (Dentsu)
: Mizuki Tsunokawa (Dentsu)
: Asahi Fukui (Dentsu)
Director: Sachiko Maeda (Search And Coach)
Director: Yasuhiro Kitade (Dentsu)
: Taisei Nakano (Dentsu)
Managing Director: Seiichi Nihei (Fukushima Minpo)
Tokyo Branch Maneger: Shuichi Hanno (Fukushima Minpo)
Media placement: NewsPaper - Fukushima Minpo - 24 May 2011
Media placement: NewsPaper - Fukushima Minpo - 21 July 2011
Media placement: NewsPaper - Fukushima Minpo - 21 August 2011
Media placement: NewsPaper - Fukushima Minpo - 30 September 2011
Media placement: Event - At Sukagawa Fukushima - 21 August 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Despite being concerned with being a local newspaper, the Fukushima Minpo planned the 'Smile Fukushima Project' with the intention of encouraging and uplifting the people of Fukushima as their local newspaper. In addition to creating a project symbol and in order to increase the project’s visibility and newsworthiness, sunflower seeds were planted in 5 locations in Fukushima Prefecture, to create flower art depicting a gigantic 'smile mark' as a core symbolic event in the project. On August 21st (Prefecture Residents’ Day), newspaper copies were completely enveloped in 4-page wrapping-advertisement featuring smiling sunflower faces and calling for people to submit 'Your Smiling Face' and messages using newspaper advertisements while simultaneously announcing the completion of the flower art. The many smiling faces that were received were published in the newspaper as visual advertisements on September 30th. The project enabled the Fukushima Minpo to re-assert its presence as a local newspaper. It also became a much-discussed topic, and in 2012 will be expanded into the 'Smile Tohoku Project' covering 3 prefectures: Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima.

The Situation
Due to the nuclear power plant accident following the Great East-Japan Earthquake, Fukushima Prefecture is now perceived as dangerous land contaminated by radiation, yet many people continue to live here despite their anxiety. As Fukushima’s Number 1 local newspaper (with a circulation of 300,000 within Fukushima Prefecture), the Fukushima Minpo desires to somehow encourage and uplift the people of Fukushima. Thus, the 'Return Smiles to the Faces of Fukushima Prefecture Residents!: Smile Fukushima Project' was planned with the desire to inform Fukushima evacuees to other prefectures and residents of other prefectures that there are people living happily and healthily in Fukushima.

The Goal
Through this project, the Fukushima Minpo desires to encourage and uplift people living in Fukushima Prefecture, returning smiles to their faces. Also, by showing the smiles of Fukushima's residents to people throughout Japan, the Fukushima Minpo desires to raise interest in and dispel misconceptions and prejudices regarding Fukushima Prefecture. Moreover, by continuing this project rather than making it a one-off event, the Fukushima Minpo desires to expand the scope and content of its activity, extending the circle of support to include not only Fukushima but also other regions that are currently recovering from the Great East-Japan Earthquake.

The Strategy
In addition to creating a symbol for the 'Smile Fukushima Project', a core symbolic event was held in order to increase the project’s visibility and newsworthiness. Moreover, incorporating mechanisms for encouraging the co-operation and participation of the general public aroused people’s interest in the project and transformed it into a movement. As part of advertising activities, attention was drawn to the project by utilizing newspaper space — a newspaper company’s greatest weapon. In addition, through the continuous transmission of information — from announcements, to implementation, to reports, and then again to announcements — understanding of the project was promoted and sympathy for it fostered.

Execution
Since sunflowers symbolize smiling faces, sunflower seeds were planted in 5 locations in Fukushima Prefecture to create flower art depicting a gigantic 'smile mark'. To create this flower art, a nationwide request for support in the form of 500 yen-donations was made. On May 24th the newspaper featured a full-page project-announcement, and on July 21st an advertisement was printed announcing that the sunflower seeds had been sown. On August 21st (Prefecture Residents’ Day), newspaper copies were completely enveloped in 4-page wrapping advertisements featuring smiling sunflower faces. The completion of the flower art was reported, and simultaneously a call was made for people to submit 'Your Smiling Face' and messages; the smiling faces' that were received were published as visual-advertisements on September 30th. An advertisement reporting that the project had expanded to include Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures was published on January 21st, 2012.

Documented Results
The project was co-sponsored by 9 companies and received 986 donations from individuals. Thanks to the goodwill of many people, the project was successful in its first year. On the day following the full wrap-around advertisement, the newspaper received more than 400 photographs of smiling faces. These photographs were used as the basis for the advertisement reporting the project’s implementation, making it possible to show the smiling faces of Fukushima residents to many people. Newspaper copies were also delivered to evacuation centers in other prefectures where Fukushima residents were staying, and messages were also received from amongst these evacuees. The project enabled the Fukushima Minpo to reassert its presence as a local newspaper, connecting the hearts of people far from their hometowns. It also became a much-discussed topic, and in 2012 will be expanded into the 'Smile Tohoku Project' covering 3 prefectures: Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.