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Repetitive post-quake public service messages drove TV viewers nuts

22 Comments

"The same ad messages were repeated too many times. They were never designed to be shown that way, and there was no real connection between their message and the post-disaster situation."

Yukichi Amano, a columnist for Kokoku Hihyo, a trade publication that covers the advertising industry, is obviously unhappy with blizzard of public service messages aired on TV after the March 11 disaster in Tohoku, and lets fly in Shukan Gendai (May 7-14).

"It's hard enough as it is to convey the right message through those kind of ads," Amano continues. "Viewers are just as likely to feel, 'I don't want to have to listen to this kind of sermonizing!'"

The TV networks suspended the airing of all regular TV commercials and substituted messages produced by the Advertising Council, formerly known as the Public Advertising Organization.

Not that many ads were initially available, so people tuned into the commercial channels to watch news of the disaster were shown hundreds, if not thousands, of repetitions of mother and daughter actress combo Akiko and Hitomi Nishina appealing to young women to get a cervical cancer examination, or a silly animated film titled "Aisatsu no Maho" (the secret magical method of greetings), or, in an ad produced for local consumption in Kansai, former Hanshin Tiger player Norihiro Akaboshi exhorting people to adopt a spirit of volunteerism.

So aggravated did the huddled masses become that the phones in AC Japan's office were ringing off the hook from March 14, the Monday morning following the earthquake.

"For the two weeks after March 24, our three lines in the office rang constantly," AC Japan's spokesperson Toshiaki Ogata tells Shukan Gendai. "We don't have staff whose job is to only to answer calls, so we have no idea how many calls were received."

Among the irate callers were fans of the Tigers' Akaboshi, who felt the overuse of their hero at the time of tragedy made him look bad.

AC took prompt action to create more suitable ads, recruiting such popular hunks as SMAP and Tortoise Matsumoto, who appeared in a "We believe Japan has the power," and other spots featuring pro wrestler Antonio Inoki and TV personality Kyoko Uchida.

Unfortunately, the new spots were shown ad nauseum as well.

Yoshiaki Hashimoto, an authority on the psychology of the mass media at the University of Tokyo, puts it like this: "We have found from studies that persuasive public messages work best if viewed up to three times. After five times, their effectiveness diminishes. Anything that touches on morality in particular is likely to create a negative impression by viewers, who may react by thinking, 'I don't want anyone to impose on my freedom.'"

According to the CM Databank, the five commercial networks normally broadcast 4,000 commercial messages per day. During the week of March 15 to 22, about 80% of all commercials aired were from AC, i.e., the same commercials were aired over 3,000 times.

"Even when nationally popular idols like SMAP issue a message exhorting the country to gird its loins, people will respond coldly," points out columnist Takashi Odajima. "And when Antonio Inoki advises people not to circulate false information, people ask themselves, "Why the hell is a pro wrestler remonstrating me about circulating lies?"

At least AC's messages cost less to produce than ordinary TV commercials. The organization's spokesperson tells the magazine they run about 20 million yen, but that includes promotional posters and national distribution. They are also aired on radio and shown in cinema theaters. Similar coverage would cost a corporate sponsor some 80 billion yen.

But if the messages only serve to annoy their intended viewers, the article concludes, they will merely have been wasted.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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The funny thing is now, they still air these commercials from time to time, and immediately I feel we are back in the bad old days, that just followed the earthquake, after we got our electricity back. I think that these current commercials should be pulled and never broadcast again as the writer said, people will suffer a kind of post traumatic stress disorder when they hear them.

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I wanted to shoot the people that posted that AC crap. They still show them and the gingle is still there, but the AC at the end finally has stopped. They make me look up at the lamps to see if they are swinging.

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... I'm surprised that people who watch commercial Japanese TV noticed the repetition ; most of it seems to be on an endless loop of about 4 programmes anyway.

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Yeah, we get that here ! Reruns of the same thing like as if to say we don't know it.

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Thanks goodness all the ads were in Japanese! Not so bad for other language speakers-it is the A....C jingle at the end that had me smashing plates.

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It was worse than any propaganda ever done in a communist country. Eventhough the C jingle is no longer there, I can still hear it. I guess I got brainwashed...

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Yes, I too was driven half crazy. I would be hard pressed to choose my most hated one, but probably the one urging you to get checked for cervical cancer, who wants to hear that cr÷÷ over and over?

But on the other hand I do appreciate what they were trying to do. With such a painful disaster still in progress, I do not think it would be appropriate to show normal commercials urging you to buy buy buy with sexiness and dumb jokes. They were trying to just take up the airwaves and airspace using their communal financial resources. A good idea. Maybe they could film some beautiful natural scene, like flowers or mountains and an unspoken unintrusive written slogan in it somewhere for next time?

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When the UK's Channel 4 first started some regions did not have enough commercials to fill the breaks: they used to play music instead. Why couldn't the Japanese stations do this, instead of showing the same ads over and over again? It's clear that the TV companies lack any kind of imagination or creativity: a look at their programmes confirms this.

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Just for the record, the Hanshin Tigers player's name is Akahoshi, not Akaboshi.

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And have we noticed how effective the constant reminders about how the world would be a better place were we to exhibit elementary courtesy?

I'd like to thank my fellow passengers on the Chiyoday line last week who helped me assist the elderly gentleman who collapsed to the floor and began an epileptic seizure. Except I can't, since not a single one of the mouthbreathing arseholes made the slightest effort. Not even those occupying the "courtesy seats" (odd, don't you think, that there needs to be a section of the train in which that cultural trait so famed in the Japanese is requested, but not expected?) could rouse themselves from their seats until sworn at vociferously by the barbarian who broke the wa by doing something more than tilting his head and making "Are? Eh? Daijobu?" noises.

We Japanese consider those around us, they will tell you, and do not only think about ourselves. This is what makes us unique, they will say. And despite delineated good-manner zones and constant brainwashing it's beyond them to even move along a seat and let another wareware nihonjin sit down.

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I shot my dog it got that bad.

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I felt like the government was brainwashing people to think "everything is okay" the ads were targetted to make people feel good, I seriously think this was their motive.

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The cartoon one with the animals grew on me after a while, but the rest made me want to poke my eyes out.

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First I thought was is the relation of these spots to my AirCon?

Should I switch it on? Crank it to a higher level?

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And have we noticed how effective the constant reminders about how the world would be a better place were we to exhibit elementary courtesy?

Yes, my wife certainly did, as she was around 8 months pregnant when the earthquake happened. (She has since given birth to a healthy baby). I don't know if it was because of the commercials, but she had no problems having people give up their seats for her.

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The Japanese don't care if they drive each other mad with endless repetition; a quick visit to one of the big chain electrical stores will confirm this. Yamada denki's is the absolute worst, an out-of-tune kid caterwauling ad nauseum. The jingles, the "irrashaimase", with shop workers having to listen to/say that hundreds of times each day, it's no wonder the suicide rate is high here.

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maybe I'm imagining things, but it seems a few more people in the neighborhood say "hello" to me in the street post-quake.

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The AC(A-sheee) greetings commercial has become a living entity in my school! I see posters at my school with arigatousagi and po-po-po-po---n written on them. Also, when doing as multiple choice game a good chunk of the students opted to hold up 2 cards ...the A and ...the C...and laughter broke out. Maybe this is a good a way to blow off steam from the AC commercials.

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Yes, my wife certainly did, as she was around 8 months pregnant when the earthquake happened. (She has since given birth to a healthy baby). I don't know if it was because of the commercials, but she had no problems having people give up their seats for her.

She must have been lucky. My friend was on crutches with a badly broken leg but no one would give up a priority seat for him. They just kept playing on their nintendo ds. He even had his crutches knocked out from under him by people rushing to get seats.

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The ads must've driven the writer crazy too, they wrote "hunks" referring to "smap"!! Or has "hunk" taken on a new meaning? In a similar way that AKB48 are called pop musicians? I'm sorry to say I didn't even notice the ads were repeats till mrs buggerlugs complained of it.

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ポポポポ〜ン! Couldn't resist....;-P

A friend posted a link on Facebook that lead to this:

      /  ポポポポーン!  \  \       ポポポポーン!゙     /  <ポポポポーン!_____ポポポポーン!>     |<ポポポポーン!      .|ポポポポーン!>     |<ポポポポーン!     | ポポポポーン!>  <ポポポポーン!      ポポポポーン!>     |<ポポポ: (ノ'A`)>:     ポポポポーン!>    / ̄ ̄ ̄ ̄: ( ヘヘ:: ̄ ̄ ̄ポポポポーン!>  <ポポポポーン!         \ ポポポポーン!>

and

原発から楽しくない仲間がポポポポ〜ン♪ 3/26/11 9:56 AM た〜のし〜い な〜かま〜が

        ポ    ポ   ポ   ポーン♪         ∵∴ ∵∴  ∵∴  ∵∴         ∴∵ ∴∵  ∴∵  ∴∵        .┷┷┷ ┷┷┷ ┷┷┷ ┷┷┷        1号機 2号機 3号機 4号機

Can't post links here, more's the pity.

It was just too much repetition. It would be cruel to broadcast food and beer commercials to people who are hungry and haven't got relief yet, that I understand well. I agree with the idea of music instead of commercials.

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I was gonna trhow my TV out of the balcony because of that annoying crap!

There is never a tsunami when you need one.. to wash away AC office

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