Comparing and Contrasting Marketing Assumptions and Advertising Strategies in Japan and the United States

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This study explores the practice and dynamics of advertising in the second largest democratic economy in the world – Japan. The work examines advertising practices through seven case studies, dramatically framed by individual vignettes written in the style of the Japanese business novel. The case problems and chosen solutions illustrate successful Japanese adaptations of advertising from around the world, in addition to advertising practices that are culturally unique to Japan. The analysis highlights similarities and differences in Japanese and American advertising practice. The study concludes that an understanding of the external and internal influences in developing creative objectives and strategies, combined with an identification of the structural components in advertising, is key to a greater understanding of how social, political and other cultural trends affected the evolution of advertising in modern Japan. In a conclusion, the author recommends new advertising strategies that are in response to changing national and international trends since the collapse of the bubble economy.


“ ... Students of any country’s advertising need to consider the country’s cultural values, how those values are interpreted into consumer behavior, and ultimately how consumer behaviors are influenced by the social, political and religious structures that make up the rich background for any marketing communications, no matter when and where it occurs. Those analytical tools are needed in addition to a sound understanding of advertising principles as demonstrated in the West. Through this book, Dr. Helgert provides a whetstone for sharpening such understanding, perceptions and analytical abilities. – (from the Foreword) Professor Anne Zahradnik, College of St. Elizabeth, New Jersey

“Dr. Helgert has taken on an imposing task to examine and explain major marketing paradigms that took place in the Japanese business market between 1987 and 1997. Even greater in accomplishment, Dr. Helgert coupled his long-established personal knowledge of Japan’s culture, politics, language, religion, economic structure and institutionalized marketing practices with significant new research to arrive at his compelling conclusions recommending new advertising strategies for use by Japanese businesses, and, also, most significantly, by organizations and cultures eager to penetrate and establish a marketing presence in Japan ...” – Professor Merton A. Tilley, University of Phoenix

“ ... This book explores the cultural differences and similarities across Japanese and American marketing and marketing communications. The book is unique because it relied on case studies to explain the creative and production processes in the development of Japanese advertising artifacts. This approach allowed the author to provide the detailed excursions and explanations of how Japanese advertising creators rely on local as well as foreign cultural values to develop their messages … I recommend this book to graduate students and international marketers, as well as government and non-government institutions.” – Professor Emmanuel C. Alozie, Governors State University, Illinois

“The importance of understanding cultural differences in the business world has become almost cliché as the speed of communications and transportation increases exponentially ... Even small companies in the middle of the US find themselves with the opportunity to market their products around the world and thus find themselves with the need to understand the culture and customs of new trading partners ... Appropriate for both the marketing professional and advertising student, the insights provided by this book are an important contribution. The book clearly and succinctly describes the conflicts and misunderstandings that can arise when trying to market a product or service in the quickly changing and yet tradition-bound society that is Japan.” – Professor Ronald J. Elcombe, Winona State University, Minnesota

Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
1. The Case Method as it is Applied in Japan
2. Differences in Japanese Advertising
3. [Soledad K.K.]: Convincing the Japanese They Need Personal Computers
4. [Japan Bowling Conference]: How to Create Media Outlets in a Media-Dominated Market
5. [Stewart’s]: How to Cope with Brand Success When Space Runs Out
6. [Matronix]: Creating a Trustworthy Image in a Skeptical Market
7. [Shinmoto]: Understanding Lifestyles to Pique Interest in a Declining Brand
8. [Atlas]: Transplanting a Strong American Brand Image
9. [Gerhardt’s]: Restoring Lustre to a Popular Brand
10. Strategies for a Changing Japan
Japanese Glossary

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