Short List
Product / ServiceLAKATAN BANANAS
CategoryA04. Best Use of Sponsorship
EntrantDENTSU Y&R Tokyo, JAPAN
Entrant Company:DENTSU Y&R Tokyo, JAPAN
PR/Advertising Agency:DENTSU Y&R Tokyo, JAPAN


Name Company Position
Yuki Fuse Dentsu Young & Rubicam Chief Producer/Planner/Interactive Director
Jiro Hayashi Dentsu Young & Rubicam Planner
Naoko Goto Dentsu Young & Rubicam Account Planner
Shoichi Yamakawa Dentsu Young & Rubicam Account Director
Toshiki Takahashi Dentsu Young & Rubicam Director
Masumi Yamada Puzzle Producer
Yuji Sato Puzzle Assistant Producer
Eiji Tanigawa TAIYO KIKAKU co. Movie Director/Planner
Junichi Kato Camera
Ryuichi Hasegawa Puzzle Movie Production Manager
Katsuhiro Niwa Puzzle Movie Production Assistant
Shoichi Nagashima Shoichi Nagashima Editor
Akihiro Morita TAIYO KIKAKU co. Mixer
Yoko Hata Aiim co. Music
Mineko Nakagawa Puzzle Web Planner/Copywriter
Yuko Morimoto Puzzle Web Production Manager
Kenji Takamatsu Puzzle Web Designer
Masaru Hatano Puzzle Web Designer
Kei Yamada Puzzle Flash
Isao Sato Dentsu Public Relations Media Relations

The Campaign

Lakatan Banana lacked market awareness, so we focused on the high content of citric acid in the banana and transformed it into a special "sports banana" in the name of "Tokyo Marathon 2011 Special Banana". To make a strong impression as sports banana, we sold it not only at mass retailers but also at sports shops and through Japan’s first fruit vending machine, earning awareness by using such unusual sales channel. We successfully attracted attention of participating "runners" with participatory programs on social media, and thanks to the buzz generated and permeated among runners, we managed to gain significant amount of exposure on mass media. The extensive PR effect, which turned out to be worth 350 million yen, helped spread the topic to general consumers and encourage them to ask for Lakatan Banana at stores. As a result, the sales increased by 150% from the previous year.

The Brief

We discovered the growing popularity of marathon among the Japanese public and successfully gained awareness of Lakatan Banana by promoting it as a banana ideal for runners. Our goal was to increase sales by making more people feel that it’s all right to buy Lakatan Banana at a higher price, and convincing them to buy it even though it is more expensive than other bananas from other brands.


Our communication towards runners created a popular topic that triggered a large-scale exposure to TV and mass media. 70 media including TV programs and websites took up the topic, generating a PR effect worth 350 million yen which is 15 times the cost, while fulfilling the request of our advertiser.


Dole created a position called "Chief Quality Officer" in its Philippine plantation and grew "Tokyo Marathon 2011 Special Banana" under strict quality control. While being force-ripened in Japan after importation, the banana was made to 'listen to music' according to an advice from runners. This process was made into a movie released on-line. The Dole website, using social media, also offered fortune-telling divining whether one can run the whole race, and encouraged people to share the secret of completing a marathon. In addition to selling the special banana at mass retailers nationwide, we introduced Japan’s first banana vending machine to sell the special banana, in order to gain publicity and raise awareness of the campaign. Another first-in-Japan attempt was to sell Lakatan Banana at sports shops. We distributed total 78,000 bananas at preliminary competitions, sports shops, public baths frequented by runners, and at the Tokyo Marathon itself which was televised.

The Situation

Banana is a product hard to differentiate by brand, and its sales are largely influenced by the price presented in supermarkets and other stores. The price of Lakatan Banana is approximately 1.5 times that of ordinary bananas. In addition, Lakatan Banana accounts for only 1% of total banana sales by Dole, therefore it was necessary to take actions to raise awareness of the brand among consumers as well as distribution channels. Lakatan Banana, smaller than average bananas are easy to eat, has a unique advantage of containing 1.5 times more citric acid which is an ingredient of sports drinks.

The Strategy

Our challenge was how to circulate information on a "banana"- a topic not necessarily exciting to general public. We decided to focus on the following two factors. 1. The unprecedented popularity of running, and the special affinity between runners and bananas 2. Citric acid, an ingredient in sports drinks, is included in Lakatan Banana in 1.5 times larger quantity than in ordinary bananas. And Dole is the only brand that sells Lakatan Banana in Japan. Selecting Tokyo Marathon, where 35,000 runners gather, as the best target media, Dole became one of the official sponsors of the event. Then we implemented communication introducing Lakatan Banana as "Tokyo Marathon 2011 Special Banana." By this action we attracted runners’ attention and encouraged them to create a buzz among themselves, which would trigger extensive exposure to media and stimulate attention of marathon-loving Japanese people.