David Blecken
Aug 25, 2017

ANA aims to make intangible Japanese culture tangible

A new content-marketing initiative gives an in-depth but accessible look at Japan's traditional arts.

ANA aims to make intangible Japanese culture tangible

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is an airline that has embraced ‘content’ more enthusiastically than most brands in its sector. Having offered up a detailed interactive guide to Japan’s festivals and an award-winning ‘museum in the cloud’, it now aims to give some insight into Japan’s various traditional arts.

The latest selection of content looks at ‘Dou’. In isolation, the word is unlikely to mean anything to most English speakers, but most simply, it’s a suffix that refers to the ‘way’ of doing something and the philosophy of existence in that field. Here, ANA looks at traditional arts in two categories: Budo (martial arts such as judo and kyudo) and Geido (performing or fine arts such as shodo and sado). In its introduction, ANA says it wants to “help pass along these intangible cultural assets to new generations in a ‘tangible’ manner”.

The content features nine ‘masters’ in different areas, ranging from Kendo to Noh to tea ceremony. Users select the individual they want to learn about (such as the Iaido master Isao Machii, who uses his sword to cut down a ball travelling at 160 kph) and are presented with an introduction to the person and their art, a video interview and an interactive demonstration.

The work was developed by creative agency Enjin and web production house Birdman.

Campaign’s view: When we say ANA’s content is detailed, we mean it’s detailed. That can obviously be a risk in a world of ever-decreasing attention spans, but the subject matter is interesting enough for people to spend time with. Japan’s traditional arts are the main draw for many visitors to Japan, but they are often difficult to comprehend. Giving a face and personality to each one definitely makes them more ‘tangible’.

As we have said before, we would urge ANA to reconsider the ‘Is Japan Cool?’ banner that all this content sits under. ‘Cool’ seems an insubstantial adjective to describe these arts, and anyway we think Japan should just be more confident in itself as a cultural beacon (obviously while refraining from shouting about it). Overall though, we think it’s great that an airline is working to distinguish itself by offering people something of real substance that can enhance their enjoyment of the country they are visiting.

ANA has also worked with CNN's 'Great Big Story' site on content marketing. See "CNN’s great big co-creation story."


Campaign Japan

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