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New book challenges traditional media myth

Tetsuya Honda, founder and Managing Director of BlueCurrent Group in Tokyo has released his seventh business book, Stop Fooling Yourself: Advertising & Mass Media Don’t Move People Anymore, stirring widespread discussion and acclaim in Japan.

Co-written with media guru and executive officer at LINE (Japan’s equivalent of Whatsapp with 500 million users), Shintaro Tabata, the book has largely held the top spot in the ‘Advertising and Marketing’ category of Amazon Japan since it was published in August.

Selling 50,000 copies in its first two months on the market, it ranks as the number-one business book at Japan’s major bookstores, Kinokuni-Ya and The book’s theme challenges the assumption, in this digital age, that paid TV advertising boosts sales and that advertising-only campaigns sufficiently raise product awareness.

Billed in Japan as a must-read for anyone working in advertising and marketing, the book analyses several cases in which products, brands and apps ‘moved’ people by effectively reaching millions of consumers without a roaring ad campaign.

The case studies range from ‘Frozen’ which ‘moved’ 10 million people in Japan to LINE, to how a retailer on a Kyoto college campus burdened with 4,000 mis-ordered puddings managed to sell them out in no time.

The co-authors offer their opinions and tips on how to harness the power of the internet to execute on fully integrated communications to activate audiences.

They quote “Shin-Gi-Tai”, a Japanese term for the three components required to be the perfect martial arts fighter, and translate these into how to be the perfect marketer: “Shin” translates to “insights-based”, “Gi” meaning “techniques to optimize content”, and “Tai” which refers to ensuring an “experiential factor”.

The book has attracted a host of positive reviews. In a book review published by in Japanese national newspaper, Asahi-Shimbun, journalist Sumiko Kajiyama commented, “In this era when consumers have access to huge amounts of online information, assuming that huge advertising spends will result in a desired outcome has become almost delusional.”

The Diamond Harvard Business Review Editor-in-Chief Fumio Iwasa remarked, “In an uncontrollable world, is there anything we can control? This book confidently tells us there is no answer to that question.

But the directive in its title to ‘Stop Fooling Yourself!’ isn’t a call to give up — it’s a wake-up call to us all to ‘never give up!’.”

Stop Fooling Yourself will be released in Korean early next year.

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