In a country where you often see businessmen wearing masks on the train, and where women’s magazines contain recipes to build up immunity against pollen allergy, health plays an important part. Clean air is therefore the great concern in Japan.
One of my responsibilities is promoting clean air in the car. I mean the promotion of cabin air filter from MANN-FILTER.
Normally, cabin filters have a layer to adsorb small particles in the air and a premium one containing charcoal with the additional function to adsorb odours and exhaust gases. To be more suitable for the Japanese market, we developed a special cabin filter with extended functions to adsorb allergens and also prevent mould and bacteria to grow, thus protecting occupants from allergens.
Clean Air for Japan
The development of this special cabin filter started four years ago and Japan was the first market to place this “fresh air product” in cars. To be the first market means that the marketing ideas should match the special needs of this market. Every marketing tool – package, catalogue and web site (http://www.frecious-plus.jp/) were original and exclusively designed for the Japanese market.
The development of the marketing concept focused on the Japanese attitude to health. It means that we did not promote the cabin filter but we promoted “clean air”. So the leitmotif of our new product was born: a Japanese girl smiling and saying: “Clean air, please”. The girl fitted our product image and the Japanese motif looked more familiar to Japanese people.
Once the product is in the market, you are naturally anxious to know if your customers like the product. The only way to find out is to ask the consumers. Nowadays, thanks to social networks you get the information very quickly and easily. This is of course important to improve all campaigns but to be honest, I was curious if it worked. And I was surprised …
One of the most talked about products
We placed an advertisement in an automotive magazine. I was looking at the social network among car enthusiasts in Japan and one blogger wrote about our product and also mentioned our advertisement. Somebody even wrote that the girl’s smile made him feel the filter must perform well. I could really see how the advertisement worked and how users felt about our product.
At the beginning there were just a few posts per month. Now our product is one of the most talked about products in the network.
My favourite posts are the ones where people buy the filter, replace it themselves then take a photo comparing the dirty old one and the clean new one. The Bloggers have a lot of followers, friends and likes. I cannot read these posts without smiling. I am happy if users like our products.
Placing a new product in the market provided valuable marketing experience. Started in Japan, this product was also released in China and the US, using their version of the packaging but applying the same marketing concept.
Now the “clean air family” originated in Japan has been extended to the world. 🙂