29 September 2005
Alas, I’m a week behind on my reading and just now getting around to the Sept. 19 edition of Advertising Age. If you’re a subscriber, check out the article on page 18, “Women Wrest Spending Power From Men in Japan.” Or, if you’re not a subscriber or hey, just too dang busy to take a bulldozer to your desk, here are some of the highlights.
• The number of single, recently divorced and stay-at-home moms in Japan (the world’s second largest advertising market, by the way) is growing at a fast clip. But guess who the real trendsetters are in Japan? Okay, I’ll tell you. Schoolgirls. Really.
• One of those groups, dubbed “Parasite Singles,” are unmarried women who live at home and freely spend their money on luxury items and indulgences while running in the opposite direction from the traditional Japanese model of marriage and children. They spend $6.5 billion on themselves.
• So how are Japanese marketers responding to this powerful trend? For the Parasite Singles, marketing messages are more empowering and products are more indulgent. There are several cultural trends showing up in advertising, too, like costuming (apparently, Japanese women enjoy dressing up as famous people or icons), cuteness and novelty. Check out the new bank cards with a sweet, cute little bunny on them, the new McDonald’s ads that feature a female “Ronald” McDonald (would that be Rhonda McDonald?), or condoms with monkeys on ‘em.
Tomorrow, we’ll talk about those school girls and if we’ve got enough room, we’ll look at recently divorced Japanese women, too. Until then, sayonara.