Apr 12, 2016

CASE STUDY: How Glico re-energised Pocky with a dance move

Roping in a popular musical act, the snack brand made 'The Sharehappi Pose' into something of a sensation and achieved a healthy sales increase.

Pocky's campaign featured the J Soul Brothers
Pocky's campaign featured the J Soul Brothers

Ezaki Glico celebrated the 50th anniversary of its flagship brand, Pocky, in 2015, revamping its five main products. (Pocky products are distinctive, chocolate-coated biscuit sticks.) Aiming to increase the rate of purchase, in September it rolled out a campaign called 'Project: Sharehappi'.

The issue for Pocky, which enjoys high brand awareness, lies in how to get people to actually buy it. 'Project: Sharehappi' aimed to solve this issue.

The Sharehappi was a band formed especially for the campaign. It consists of three members from J Soul Brothers, a popular singing and dancing outfit whose nationwide tour last year attracted 1.2 million fans. 

The cornerstone of the project was the Sharehappi Dance, which features in TV commercials and online video clips. An important part of it is a pose designed to encourage consumers to imitate it.

“It’s an expression that people will want to imitate immediately after seeing the ad,” said Hirohisa Tamai of Ezaki Glico’s advertising department. “The Sharehappi Pose is something that conveys how to hold Pocky and how to recommend it to other people through a unique visual performance. We hope to link copying of the pose to the act of actually eating the product.”

The online video clip has been viewed approaching 17 million times [as of April 2016] and the TVC over 3.74 million times.

There is another phenomenon that shows the degree of the Sharehappi Dance’s influence. The theme song became a huge hit on iTunes, holding the number one spot for 20 days straight. Initially, there were no plans to sell the song as a music track, but it was released after receiving a flood of enquiries. When the theme song was played during an actual live performance, 50,000 concertgoers could be seen dancing along to the music.

Tamai said: “We place the great importance on whether ads really make people want to buy the product". 

In truth, "this ad doesn’t have any novelty. It takes the orthodox approach of relying on song and dance. However, we’re not in a competition to create a ‘good ad.’ Products may have been purchased solely on brand image in the past, but now we’re in an age where people don’t buy things they don’t need. We will continue to focus on campaigns where consumers with this sort of mindset will want to touch the product and take it in their hands”.

In Ezaki Glico’s third quarter aggregate results (1 April to 31 December 2015) announced in March 2016, Pocky was the driving force in surpassing the results from the same quarter the previous year. Japan's domestic chocolate category is forecast to reach sales of 39 billion yen for the full 2016 fiscal year, a 7.9 percent increase on the previous year.

Campaign's view: Employing a dance routine to sell a product might not be terribly original, but if it succeeds in selling that product, does it have to be? Glico is honest about not setting out to win awards for creativity, but business results speak for themselves. The challenge, of course, is keeping the momentum going and how to keep the brand fresh once interest in this initiative inevitably drops off. 

English-language case studies from Japan are few and far between. In partnership with AdverTimes, a domestic marketing-industry publication, we aim to offer a better understanding of the type of work that resonates in the country. 


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