Short List
CategoryB01. Education & Awareness (incl. Fundraising and Advocacy)
Production C3 FILM Tokyo, JAPAN
Production 2 BIGWAVE.CO.,LTD. Tokyo, JAPAN
Contributing SIGNAL Tokyo, JAPAN


Name Company Position
Mihiro Odake J. Walter Thompson Japan Copywriter
Fumiki Yamashita Noah Clinic Doctor (dermatologist)
Go Sohara J. Walter Thompson Japan Executive Creative Director
Riki Kawanami J. Walter Thompson Japan Account Supervisor
Takanori Miyasaka J. Walter Thompson Japan Associate Account Director
Keizo Mugita J. Walter Thompson Japan Senior Creative Director, Copywriter
Itaru Fujikawa J. Walter Thompson Japan Account Manager
Hiromi Omata J. Walter Thompson Japan Account Manager
Masayoshi Yambe J. Walter Thompson Japan Web Developer
Kazuya Tanino J. Walter Thompson Japan Senior Art Director, Designer
Yosuke Uchiyama C3Film Co., Ltd. Director
Takuma Kinoshita C3Film Co., Ltd. Chief Producer
Hiroaki Yamanashi C3Film Co., Ltd. Producer
Takeshi Arai C3Film Co., Ltd. Production Manager
Toru Chino Freelance Illustrator
Yumeto Matsubara Freelance Photographer
Bao HO Nguyen C3Film Co., Ltd. Director, Photographer
Mami Nomura Center Kita Hiro Clinic Doctor(dermatologist)
Joji Hayashi J. Walter Thompson Japan Account Executive
Yuichiro Saito J. Walter Thompson Japan Associate Director

The Campaign

At the request of Fuji Soba (Japan’s largest soba restaurant chain) and 230 Soba Street Promotion Committee (Soba restaurant association), we developed Soba Allergy Tattoo Checkers, the sticker for an easy and fun allergy test. The sticker design was in the motifs of Ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints) attractive to foreigners. When applying the sticker to the skin, if there is an allergic reaction, a part of the design flares up and turns to be cooler. Allergy tests are not something that is particularly exciting however, the Allergy Tattoo Checker added an entertainment element to it, making soba allergy testing a memorable and enjoyable travel experience. Furthermore, we made allergic reactions, something that is usually perceived negatively, into something positive and perhaps even desirable; cool changes in color can only be seen with an allergic reaction.

Creative Execution

The Soba Allergy Tattoo Checker uses a commonly used allergy test method; the skin prick test. After placing the sticker on the skin, Soba-yu (residual water collected after boiling Soba) is glazed over. As well as acting as the glue, this Soba-yu also acts as allergen. Certain parts of the tattoo design is intentionally made transparent, so when there is an allergic reaction, the redness of the skin shows through, making it look as if the design flared up in color. This Soba Allergy Tattoo Checker was developed under the supervision of dermatologist Mami Nomura. There are 7 different designs available, allowing the subjects to choose designs that they like. The designs are all original, and adopt a Ukiyoe-style (Japanese woodblock prints) that resemble traditional Japanese artwork which tends to attract tourists. Additionally, incentives were developed and provided to encourage people to share their Soba Allergy Tattoo Checkers via SNS.

News on this activation immediately spread nationwide and overseas, gaining over 4 million Reach only on social media. More than 300 media vehicles featured this topic, including online news, blogs, newspapers, magazines, radio and TV programs. Surprisingly, it also gained over 20 million Media Impressions within a month. Many different categories of media covered this activation including those for travelers, foreigners living in Japan, food, cooking, medical, design, and entertainment for the young to science, creating a huge buzz across many people including foreign tourists.

Soba (buckwheat noodle), a representative Japanese dish, may cause serious allergic reactions. In order to inform foreign tourists about this, we developed a tool for an easy and fun allergy test and directly approached tourists. We also intended to generate buzz through this activation as a trigger and increase awareness of soba allergy as much as possible, allowing tourists to enjoy soba more safely.

Influenced by cheaper yen, foreign tourists visiting Japan is ever-increasing. Approx. 14 million foreign tourists came to Japan in 2015, which was 50% more than the previous year. It continues double-digit growth in the past 5 years. Due to the increasing number of tourists, more and more foreign visitors are coming in contact with Japanese food. However, almost none of them know that soba may cause serious allergic reactions. Among the foreign tourists in Japan each year, at least 13,000 are allergic to soba. Thus we needed to warn them about the risk to let them enjoy travelling and eating soba safely.


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