JIN-231 -- Beckham and the Oriental Cash Cow

J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
T H E J @ P A N I N C N E W S L E T T E R
Commentary on the Week's Business and Technology News

Issue No. 231
Wednesday, June 18, 2003


++ Viewpoint: Beckham and the Oriental Cash Cow

++ Noteworthy News
- Japan Boycotts Part of Whaling Talks
- 170 Companies Agree on Smart Label Standards
- Panasonic Uses GPS to Catch Those (Electric) Bike Thieves

============================= EVENT ==================================

Economist Conferences presents:
Mapping the road ahead
July 17th 2003, Tokyo

Join senior decision-makers and discuss the best strategies for
reversing the slide and to debate new directions for the industry.
Meet industry leaders from Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor,
BMW Japan, Volkswagen Group and many more...

Special offer exclusive for J@pan Inc readers!
Win a free ticket for attending this roundtable, please register at:

++ Viewpoint: Beckham and the Oriental Cash Cow

So David Beckham, the English football star and all-round pretty boy
is coming to Japan today with his pop-star wife in tow. The infamous
British press pack is already in place and the headlines have all but
been written. Beckhamania is back in Tokyo, and there will be plenty
of photographic evidence of hysterical high-school girls to back it
all up.

But we at J@pan Inc are not the only ones to wonder whether this
six-day sojourn is not a little bit cynical. Despite his involvement
in a 22 million pound deal to move from Manchester United to Real
Madrid, none of the press events this week are open to non-Japanese
media, and he will certainly not be talking about the transfer. Odd,
when you consider that he is, at a very basic level, a footballer. But
this trip has nothing to do with football and everything to do with
big advertising bucks. The sponsors of this trip are one and the same
with the advertisers who have paid so much -- combined sum of around
10 million pounds -- to use Beckham in their adverts. Meiji
chocolates, TBC beauty salons, J-Phone and even a chain of second-hand
car dealerships have forked out to use him.

The adverts themselves are deeply tacky. For the sake of a few quid,
Beckham has given his name to some truly awful TV and poster slots. On
posters for Renewcar, for example, Beckham's swirling signature is
boldly placed below the stirring endorsement "I love cars." Pulitzer
material, we think.

But seasoned Japan watchers will know that tacky adverts with big
stars is nothing new in Japan, and the Beckhams are certainly not the
first celebrities to milk the oriental cash cow. Since the heady days
of the economic bubble, Japanese companies have been showering the
stars with yen, and even the biggest stars are happy to get

Brits, despite their usual reserve, are just as happy to muck in as
their Hollywood counterparts. Catherine Zeta Jones recently did TV
adverts for Lux shampoo, as did Kate Beckinsale. The sums involved are
always enough to make even the biggest Hollywood names swallow any
pride they may have. Brad Pitt, Meg Ryan and Leonardo Di Caprio have
all used their megastar-status to pull in fees of $1-3 million.

But the big names are always careful to include an important clause:
that the adverts they feature in should never, under any
circumstances, be shown outside Japan. Web sites that have attempted
to expose the advertising antics of the famous have been sued time and

So the sight of Roger Moore selling cigarettes with the slogan "speak
Lark" or Ewan McGregor advertising English language schools will never
legally reach British shores.

Nobody, it would seem, is too grand for the Japanese advertising game.
Three knights of the realm have lowered themselves on Japanese TV. Sir
Anthony Hopkins has advertised Honda with the slogan "let's have a
thrilling time" and Sir Bobby Charlton has eschewed the glories of
Kirin Beer, without actually taking a sip.

But towering above those two is Sir Sean Connery, who has done
commercials for Japanese whiskey, Mazda cars and ham. Pierce Brosnan
completes a quartet of Bonds who have headed to Japan to peddle their
wares. Brosnan has reprised Roger Moore's role in the Lark adverts and
is currently doing an all-action slot for Visa cards.

Arnold Schwarzenegger dons a huge fake moustache for his latest role
advertising Japanese satellite television, while the muscle-bound
Sylvester Stallone took up the ham-advertising gig when Sir Sean gave
it up. Britney Spears, Cindy Crawford, Cameron Diaz and Jodie Foster
have respectively sold fizzy drinks, brandy, English lessons and
temporary staffing agencies.

Probably the most bizarre of all was Nicholas Cage, who used his
Oscar-winning leverage to win a juicy contract advertising pachinko.

-- The editors

"Mom's Mutt Makes Money," featuring a canine Beckham look-alike, 08/02

============================= EVENT ==================================
Empire www.empire.net.nz - Property Investment Exhibition
Quality Development by Sanctuary Group

Venue: Tokyo American Club, Azabudai, Tokyo
Date: 28th - 29th June 2003
Time: Saturday & Sunday 11:00am - 7:00pm
Contact: Towry Law International (Japan) Ltd -
Ivan Doherty 03-5210-5503 or ipd@towrylaw.co.jp

If you're looking for success in investment property in Auckland,
New Zealand - this is an opportunity not to be missed.

(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)

** Japan Boycotts Part of Whaling Talks

In Brief: Incensed at the push to form a conservation committee at the
International Whaling Commission, Japan refused to participate in two
of the commission's three annual meetings in Germany. It boycotted the
talks on whale stocks and whale killing methods, and some members of
the LDP are arguing that Japan should pull out of the IWC. Japan
delegates say moves by the IWC to form a conservation committee will
change the very nature of the IWC, which was originally set up to
manage whaling.

Commentary: Right next to the 109 building in Shibuya is a restaurant
that specializes in whale meat served in every imaginable form. It's
hard to imagine that sort of establishment thriving in any other major
metropolis in the world. That said, writer Deb Gardiner exposes some
interesting things about whaling in our June issue (see link below).
Here's some food for thought from her story: "The Japanese seem to
take the blame for all the whaling in the world...Conspiracy theories
seem to be the fuel the antis run on. Greenland, the Faroe Islands and
Canada take twice as many whales as Japan." (From a woman at a whaling
nonprofit in Canada).


"Whaling and Japan," from our June 2003 issue

============================= EVENT =================================
The Entrepreneur Association of Tokyo - For our July seminar
Andrew Silberman, President & Chief Enthusiast for the AMT group,
will inject us with a dose of "success serum."
A presentation about "Guerrilla Marketing", Jay Conrad Levinson's
term for improving business results (like sales and profits) through
unconventional means --without spending a lot of money.
Wednesday July 2nd, City Club of Tokyo.
www.ea-tokyo.com E-mail: info@ea-tokyo.com

** 170 Companies Agree on Smart Label Standards

In Brief: The Nikkei reports that 170 domestic companies, including
machinery, communications and printing firms, have agreed on a common
standard for smart labels. These labels can store a wealth of
information about a product and will help in managing distribution.

Commentary: Once smart labels take off, we'll be able to have the cost
of our cart full of groceries calculated in a second or two; we'll be
able to see exactly where food was grown; and we will be able to see
information about a product on our cellphone. It's a brave new world,
shoppers, and now that the standards for the chip have been set, we
can expect tons of smart label products to hit the shelves by the end
of this year or the beginning of 2004.

Nikkei Net

"Keeping Tabs on the Food Chain," from July 2002

============================= EVENT ==================================
ICA Special Event on Project Management - June 19, 18:30

PRESENTER: Jim (Coach) Hunter, Senior Partner, PMP-Japan
TOPIC: Managing Process Improvement Projects:
Using advanced project management methodologies.

Location - Foreign Correspondents' Club, Yurakucho Denki Building,
Cost: 3,500 yen (members) 6,000 yen (non-members), Dinner included

To attend please RSVP on our sign-up page at:
For more details visit

** Panasonic Uses GPS to Catch Those (Electric) Bike Thieves

In Brief: Panasonic says it will be first to market with an electric
bike that uses a GPS system which connects to Secom's security service
to track the bike when it is lost or stolen. The bike, produced by
Matsushita affiliate National Bicycle Industrial, can be tracked in
real time via Secom's Web site or by calling a company operator.

Source: As many long-term Japan residents know, the host country's low
crime rate doesn't apply to bike theft. Bikes can disappear at an
alarming rate, and they're usually just ridden somewhere and
abandoned. If Matsushita can produce a low-cost version of this GPS
system for mama-charis (those bikes with baskets that housewives
ride), it would have a nationwide hit.

SUBSCRIBERS: 7,095 as of June 18, 2003

Written and edited by Leo Lewis and Roland Kelts (editors@japaninc.com)


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