This project began as a panel for Anime Los Angeles 2019. It soon developed into something far more intense than I had ever anticipated.
The original premise of the panel was to bank on the meme-ability of Japanese commercials and analyze them to see what it was about them that made them so different from Western commercials. And, while the panel originally debuted in 2019 as scheduled, it reached its completed form in 2020, by which point it had evolved from an academic panel at a fan convention into a full blown, company funded research project.
Between 2018 and 2020, FrostWorks hired on two teams of researchers - 12 members in total - to analyze the 922 Japanese and American commercials with the goal of reproducing the research methodologies of the two academic papers on which this project was based.
Thank you to our Researchers!
Japanese Commercials Team
American Commercials Team
Misty Crowe Andrew Hoffman
Ethan Freier Kandis Caringer
Amy Heintz Chris Cook
Hannah Deiter James B.
Notable Commercials Showcase
"Sakeru Gummy vs. Long Sakeru Gummy" (2017)
This ad campaign for Long Sakeru Gummy carries a singular narrative across all 11 commercials, complete with romance, comedy, and drama.
Daihatsu Wake (2015)
Banking on the feeling we've all experienced when coming up against the limitations of our cars, this series of ads for the Daihatsu Wake tells the frustrated car owner "Why are you making your life more difficult? Just buy a Wake!"
Alien Tommy Lee Jones - Boss Coffee (2006-Present)
In this more than 15-year-long ad campaign, Tommy Lee Jones (Yes, THAT Tommy Lee Jones) plays the part of an alien (also named Tommy Lee Jones) studying humanity and life on earth, all while enjoying can after can of delicious Boss Coffee.
Doi Emi did a great write-up on the history of the campaign here.
Below is a list of some of the sources used during the research for this project.
Information Content of American and Japanese Television Commercials - Jyotika Ramaprasad and Kazumi Hasegawa
Creative strategies in American and Japanese TV commercials: A comparison - Jyotika Ramaprasad and Kazumi Hasegawa
Gender Role Portrayals in Japanese Advertising: a Magazine Content Analysis - John B. Ford, Patricia Kramer Vol Earl D. Honeycutt Jr, Susan L. Casey
Do Global Brands Use Similar Executional Styles Across Cultures? A Comparison of U.S. and Japanese Television Advertising - Charles R. Taylor & Shintaro Okazaki
Ad hoc Japonisme: how national identity rhetorics work in Japanese advertising - Yuko Minowa & Russell W. Belk