A look at what drove Nissin's 'Instant Buzz'

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We asked Dentsu to explain the thinking that led to its fantastical multiple-memes video celebrating Chikin Ramen's 58th anniversary

Nissin’s action-packed video can be seen as an anthology of recent Japanese advertising trends, including everything from parkour to shrimp cannons. Naoya Kudo, a creative planner at Dentsu who worked on it, tells us what it’s all about.

What was the brief from Nissin?

Instant noodles originated with the launch of the beloved Chikin Ramen brand 58 years ago. The issue was that the brand looked dated and needed a revamp to remain contemporary. Nissin had relied mostly on mass advertising, and wanted to augment that vehicle with modern communication tools like the web to build buzz.

How did you come up with this idea—what was the thinking behind it?

While the goal was to generate a contemporary feel for the brand, we sensed little affinity between the brand’s conservative and unassuming reputation and generating buzz online. That’s because Chikin Ramen has remained popular for more than half a century without trying new approaches to publicizing it. So, we decided to creatively make a virtue of the stodgy reputation, emphasizing the brand’s lasting popularity instead of pushing for short-term topicality.

Our original coverage: How many memes can you spot in this awesome Nissin ad?

Nissin’s advertising often stands out for its sense of fun but also simplicity of thought. Is there any philosophy that has guided this over the years?

Noritaka Ando, who’s the chief operating officer of Nissin, thinks that only oddballs can change the world. That’s why the company rolled out the 'Beyond Instant Foods' tagline to describe a pursuit of intrinsic and universal value that eating adds to the human experience. And I think that’s what has driven Nissin’s simple and powerful messaging.

It’s a tangential question, but why do schoolgirls tend to be such a popular feature in Japanese advertising?

Japanese adults yearn to recapture their youth and innocence. I guess advertisers like interesting incongruities between the offbeat and the clean-cut looks of girls in uniform.

Do you think advertisers follow trends too easily? And do you have any prediction on the next trend we will see?

I think it’s fantastic even with a historic brand to seek malleable and modern messaging. But that’s only a means and not an end of itself, as our mission is to convey what is essential for consumers. I have no idea what the next trend will be but I can say that all trends cater to universal wants. Reverse engineering advertising and products to fulfill desires makes it easier to fuel trends.

Any further comments relating to the creation of this piece of work?

It was a challenge both for the client and for us as advertising professionals. In endeavoring to generate buzz, I feel as though I discovered some magic beans that will stand me in good stead in planning future campaigns.

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