David Blecken
Sep 10, 2018

Nissin, Wowow, Citizen benefit from Naomi Osaka’s humble victory

The US Open winner's unusual character may be as appealing for brands as her sporting prowess.

Nissin, Wowow, Citizen benefit from Naomi Osaka’s humble victory

Naomi Osaka’s defeat of Serena Williams in the final of the US Open Saturday night (US time) is also a victory for Japanese brands Nissin, Citizen and Wowow.

Nissin and Wowow, a satellite broadcaster, signed sponsorship deals with Osaka in 2016, while Citizen appointed her as its brand ambassador in August.

Osaka, who is half-Haitian, is the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam tennis tournament. Nissin has also sponsored Kei Nishikori since 2012. However, despite his worldwide acclaim, Nishikori has yet to win a Grand Slam title.

Accompanying Nissin’s endorsement of both players is the line ‘Hungry to Win’.

On its home page, Nissin says that Osaka has set the world on fire as the first Japanese tennis player to win such a prestigious title. The Asahi Shimbun quotes Nissin president Koki Ando as saying, “I knew she was going to achieve it eventually, but I didn’t expect it this fast”.

The brand does not appear to have released anything further around the achievement. The message follows a humorous video from May in which a rival camp rallies behind Osaka after being crushed by her.

Osaka does not speak Japanese fluently and is seen as somewhat quirky by the Japanese media, but has the kind of endearing qualities that can be valuable to sponsors.

She impressed audiences at home and internationally with her humility following the win, which was tinged with controversy. The umpire penalised Williams for bad behaviour, and the crowd booed when Osaka was announced as the winner. In an unusual move that some might see as characteristically Japanese, she then apologised for winning.

In a post-match TV interview, she made no gratuitous references to Nissin, but instead said she longed to eat tonkatsu and matcha ice cream.

Campaign Japan

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