NEW NIKE BASEBALL COMMERCIAL 選手宣誓 (SUBTITLE AVAILABLE)
NIKE RUN Like ME | GPS JAPAN RUN - Our Nike interactive Facebook runner just completed a 6-day run in which he GPS ran the outline of Japan’s islands. The video recapping his run just went live. Huge props to Joseph Tame for his planning and running efforts on behalf of Nike RUN Like ME.
Apparently I’ve been influential in sharing the NIKE BUILDING TWIST across the internet.
Our new viral / 3D projection mapping, ‘Nike Building Twist’ just launched in Japan.
Nike Free Yasei Night. (:60 Teaser film)
Nike Japan: NEW BEGINNINGS 2011.
Japan has one of the richest history’s of visual aesthetics of any culture in the world. The history of Japanese art is sophisticated and varied in it’s presentation.
Their graphic paintings served as inspiration to Van Gogh. Their attention to detail in design is world renown. The organic yet refined brushwork of their written characters or some of the most unique and artful examples of typography the world has ever seen.
Japanese animators, poster designers, and graphic artists continue to pioneer at the very forefront of the modern art world.
Despite this incredibly rich visual tradition, there is nary a trace of these groundbreaking visuals when it comes to modern Japanese advertising.
From subway posters to TV commercials, 99% of what you see is a textbook case of writing the book and then going faithfully by that book. Japanese advertising could not be more inside of the box. This point was loosely touched on in the American film, Lost In Translation, where actor playing an actor Bill Murray is instructed to hold his beverage up at a very specific angle, and then drying say the campaign tagline. That one scene brings to life the backstory of seemingly thousands of Japanese advertisements. Simply switch in the latest pop star, have them hold the drink/watch/food item/widget at the appropriate angle and utter the campaign tagline as dryly as possible.
Cut. Print. Ship. Next campaign.
No chances. No surprises. Just cleanly checking the boxes and making the public suffer through another wave of the same old same old.
The print often comes across as awkward and literal, first year art school level comps. There appears to be zero regard fir craftsmanship and finish. And often the pieces that hint at a strong idea, end up getting slaughtered in an over eager, junior level execution.
The saving grace of the Japanese commercial arts is found in the retail space. Store design is where you can witness the inspiring chances being taken. It’s where you can feel the innovative personality of Japan’s elite design sense.
Package design is also alarmingly present as an art form. I often buy items for the packaging alone, and feel bad for ever opening such an affecting art object.
Apparently the chasm between the art world and the advertising world exists because of the priorities and structure of the typical Japanese advertising agency. Agencies are notoriously account and media driven, relegating the vast majority of creatives as barely necessary cogs in a much larger matrix of regularly scheduled and pre-bought media placement consumption.
There is no concept of a ‘creatively driven’ advertising agency. There are a host of smaller, digital boutiques where you can find the most innovative commercial work in Japan happening. But again, the gridlock of the commercial industry has boxed out the best creative intentions, and martyred a host of would-be creative thinkers to little more than briefcase toting yes men who are mandated never to question a client. To never step in and save a client from the pitfalls and mediocrity that rounds of lifeless over testing of ideas tends to render.
It’s a shame, because the commercials arts could be a wonderful platform for the talented artists, designers, musicians, filmmakers and photographers of this nation to show their craft.
In the meantime, until a creative revolution, I suppose the essence of modern Japanese art will stay hidden, exposed to a select few patrons of taste, in tiny clubs, galleries and undefinable art spaces of the Tokyo underground.
I fear what this lack of exposure to tasteful art will do to generations of impressionable minds, who will only have a very shallow, top down view of what mass communication can be. I suppose the single-minded, one beat tone of Japanese commercial messaging could turn off a generation of consumers, and drive them to their own personal journey of artistic discovery.