CategoryA01. Best Fictional Program, Series or Film where a client has successfully created a drama, comedy or mi
Contributing Company:PICS Tokyo, JAPAN

The Campaign

Branded entertainment, particularly on the web, has been growing. This is because SNS products such as Twitter and Facebook over the past couple of years are quickly growing thereby increasing the trustworthiness and reliability of web content in general. In Japan, TV stations refrain from airing ads that are directly comparative and are careful to avoid ads considered to be vulgar or in poor taste. “Shock” advertising is not well received by regulators or most consumers. There is much more freedom of expression online compared to TV ads, but of course direct comparisons and content deemed malicious or in poor taste are not well accepted by consumers.


Challenge: Citi was launching credit cards aimed at Generation Y. But Citi is a premium brand in Japan and usually focuses on mass affluent consumers, so we knew that the usual Citi or credit card marketing tactics in general, would not appeal to this segment. Credit cards are typically of low or little interest to this generation. Our challenge was to surprise them with the benefit and advantages the cards could offer and stimulate them to take action. Strategy: Most credit card communications in Japan focus on functional benefits or prestige and do not connect on an emotional level with the targets. Our approach was to connect with the targets in an untypical way, speaking to them in their own language and style. We determined that online media was the best way to catch their eye, so we created a series of short videos featuring exaggerated caricatures of two fashion models used in a previous ATL print campaign. The animated characters were two inept young foreigners living in Japan that we named “Itarery” and “Tsukusery”,which derive from the phrase “itarery tsukusery” which in Japanese means “exceptional care and attention to your every need”. So we essentially turned the phrase into a pun and created comical scenarios based around their fictional life in Japan. Execution: We produced six videos, each featuring a different and somewhat bizzare conversation between the two characters ending in a rhyming punch line to the phrase “Itarery & Tsukusery”. Yet each punch line cleverly reflected specific characteristics or benefits of the Citi credit card, so watching the videos actually imprinted information about the products in a fun and entertaining way. And by defining the card as “itarery tsukusery”, implying exceptional care and attention to your every need, we successfully conveyed our key message despite the humorous context.

Our target audience was Generation Y, who in Japan has a low interest and usage of credit cards. In order to grab their attention and garner interest and memorability, we had to reach them with content that would be very unexpected from a credit card company. We needed to reach them in “their world” not the bank’s. So we surprised them with a series of edgy and very funny short animated videos that they would love to watch and feel compelled to pass on to their friends.

The campaign site with video series achieved 350,000 visits and over 30,000 views of the videos. There were over 10,000 mentions on twitter and blogs, creating a viral effect of being passed on from friends & peers. This resulted in a successful launch of the card and a healthy growth of new card applications. Gen Y viewers enjoyed seeing these odd foreign characters spouting surprisingly colloquial Japanese phrases. We saw numerous examples of people creating their own versions of the “itarery tsukusery” rhyming phrases. Citi’s adoption of an innovative method that skillfully harnessed the humor within the Japanese language generated buzz and affinity for the brand among a very hard to reach target audience for banks.


Name Company Position
Aizawa Shizuka Saatchi/Saatchi Fallon Tokyo Creative Director
Yoshishige Takei Saatchi/Saatchi Fallon Tokyo Copy Writer
Masashi Fujiyoshi Saatchi/Saatchi Fallon Tokyo Art Director
Takeshi Mitani Saatchi/Saatchi Fallon Tokyo Account Director
Rieko Aiba Saatchi/Saatchi Fallon Tokyo Account Supervisor
Kazuma Ikeda P.i.c.s. Director
Hajime Kohama P.i.c.s. Producer
Takahiko Kajima P.i.c.s. Production Manager