Meiji's Yan Yan mascot gets cute makeover with bespoke gamified AR filter

Meiji Seika has given its Yan Yan snack packaging and mascot a makeover, with the Yan Yan boy being more contemporary and cuter to showcase the snack's personality and increase its appeal among children. While the brand declined to comment on the monetary value of the global rebranding, a spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that with the rebranding, its primary target audience is parents and guardians of children aged six to 12 years old. Meanwhile, its secondary target group comprises teens and young adults between 12 to 28 years old. "Our customers who grew up with Yan Yan are now young adults and parents," the spokesperson said.

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Along with the rebranding was a press kit for media outlets and key opinion leaders known as Yan Yan Carnival, which was inspired by the excitement of every child's Yan Yan snack experience. According to the spokesperson, Meiji wanted to convey the message that every cup of Yan Yan opens up a whole lot of fun for young consumers and those who are young at heart. "We essentially started off with a clear brand and visual identity and the visual assets simply built off that guide," the spokesperson said when asked about the process of converting all brand assets.

Along with the bolder and brighter look on the packaging, Meiji decided to parallel the feeling of fun and excitement with a colourful, lively carnival experience. This was encapsulated by a literal mini-carnival, opening up to an interactive game and glorious Yan Yan goodies - the Yan Yan cups, a carnival tee, exclusive Yan Yan clappers and the ring toss set-up.

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To make the experience more interactive and generate user engagement, Meiji also created an AR Instagram ring toss filter to gamify the carnival theme.

Meiji worked with Bureau to design the new mascot and PROTOCOL for the brand campaign. PROTOCOL was responsible for creative concept development content production, press kit development and influencer outreach, video production for the TVC, development of the AR filter as well as media buying. This also marks the first time Meiji is making its foray into TikTok ads with a dance-centric commercial. When asked why it chose to venture into TikTok, the spokesperson explained that it had the secondary audience of teens and young adults in mind and the demographic is well represented in the TikTok audience. The ad features a dance move that is inspired by the Yan Yan consumption moment of dipping, swirling and crunching and with it, the brand seeks to raise awareness and consumption.

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"Our audience are consummate digital natives and spend a lot of time on social media channels. While we will continue to extend the brand across all touchpoints, digital and social media channels will be a key thrust of our marketing initiatives," the spokesperson said.

At the same time, Meiji plans to tap on its own channels to market the AR filter and set aside a "small media spend" for content pieces. The press kit also contains a QR code that allows one to immediately access the filter on Instagram. The company declined to comment on the monetary investment behind the carnival and the AR filter.

"While we certainly are anticipating and monitoring any sales uplift, while continuing to grow our presence in the social media channels, I think our starting point was to create consumer delight through the brand refresh and its corresponding activations," the spokesperson said.

Separately, Meiji's 2026 vision seeks to combine the strengths that it has cultivated over the past 100 years with the latest technology and new findings, according to its website. This is in an effort to create innovative ways to meet customers' needs with food and health, as well as grow in Japan and overseas sustainably.

The business vision for its food segment, in particular, focuses on developing unique Meiji-style products in each international market to establish a distinctive market position, increase brand recognition, and accelerate growth.

By 2026, the company aims to have a mid to high single-digit growth in its operating income. This will be done key strategies which include securing an overwhelming advantage in core businesses and establishing a growth foundation in overseas markets. it also created the slogan "Beyond meiji - above imagination" to break out of its shell and grow further.

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