Company: Amway Japan

Agencies: McCann Erickson, MediaBrands, Lowe Profero, Momentum

Market(s): Japan

Timing: November 2014 – Current

Amway takes a multi-media approach to shift local brand perception in Japan.

BACKGROUND

Despite sustained growth in their second largest market, Amway remained closely associated with its multi-level marketing model, which was viewed with some concerns in the Japanese society.

The team was tasked to create a long-term strategy for the brand to engage with public and build up a more positive perception.

THE IDEA

The team’s strategy was to transform the Amway persona from a “stranger” to that of an approachable “neighbor”.

They tapped into the Japanese “OSUSOWAKE” tradition, pairing it with Amway’s culture of “you first, me second” to create a corporate communications platform that resonated well with the local audience. “OSUSOWAKE” is the Japanese custom of sharing one’s gains with others in their community, i.e. neighbors.

The campaign was launched in November 2014, complete with its own mascot characters and an animated movie. It incorporated multiple media platforms including TV, print, OOH and digital.

THE PROCESS

One of the key drivers of success here was the establishment of a nimble, cross-discipline team of senior agency staff. This enabled seamless communication across the client and agencies.

Amway worked closely with McCann to set the overall communications strategy and gain alignment with key stakeholders such as global HQ and influencing distributors.

McCann played a central role in managing communication with the client and navigating all agency parties involved towards transforming strategy into actual execution.

MediaBrands led negotiation with publishers and TV stations regarding media space quality and to ensure that airing of ads to be approved of media screening (censorship) process.

Lowe Profero then drove brand engagement across paid, owned and earned digital platforms.

THE RESULTS

This was a watershed campaign for Amway in Japan, with the media accepting their corporate advertising for the first time.   In the past, major Japanese media outlets generally rejected advertising from multi-level marketing companies, but the agency team made it possible to clear censorship by TV stations and a newspaper publisher for the “OSUSOWAKE” campaign.