--Brand SHISEIDO holds a worldwide holiday promotional campaign during the year-end and New Year season. Limited-edition gift boxes, shopping bags, and other items are produced every year, and the theme for this year is "Share Beauty."
Takada：The holiday season is the gifting season, and is also the period when the cosmetic counters are the busiest. Christmas in Japan is usually spent with romantic partners and friends, but overseas, it is more of a family holiday. Although the ways in which people spend Christmastime vary from country to country, this is a heartwarming time when people share their thoughts and feelings with that special someone. SHISEIDO helps people to communicate their thoughts to each other through beauty. In other words, we came up with the theme "Share Beauty" with the aim of supporting the desire to share evocations of beauty.
--The karakusa-moyo (arabesque pattern) and hanatsubaki (camellia), which are Shiseido's traditional motifs, are used as the key visuals.
Takada：When we were exploring how to convey the theme "Share Beauty," we arrived at the design concept of "Growing Karakusa." We felt that we would be able to express the image of people connecting with each other and spreading their thoughts by depicting the growing karakusa grass, which is Shiseido's meme. In addition, brand SHISEIDO has been carrying out its innovation this year, and was in a period of updating its target audience and brand image. Hence, it was important to have consumers gain a renewed awareness of the hanatsubaki mark. Since the initial phase, we came to the idea of creating a logo with karakusa grass growing among the silhouette of the camellia flower.
--How was the brand updated?
Takada：Based on the conviction that beauty has the power to make the world a better place, we began to renew and improve on our communication with consumers based on the keyword "empathy." Within that, as we sought to gain a renewed understanding of how Millennials-our important target audience-behave, connect with people, and make decisions on their purchases, we felt strongly that in addition to the creation of material things that we have been engaged in until now, it was also inevitable that we would have to create non-material things such as events or experiences, and in particular, digital communication.
--Against that background, I understand that in addition to an animation that is longer than in previous years at 1 minute 11 seconds, digital content has also been prepared for the first time, allowing users to create their own original movie messages online.
Takada：Every year, we produce a main graphic for the holiday promotional campaign, and this graphic is used on the gift boxes, shopping bags, and store posters. Although we had the same plans for this year, we realized that the communication would simply become a one-sided affair if we were to use only printed matter at the stores. In light of that, we proposed the production of a movie and digital content, with the intention of supporting the "experiences" our consumers would like to have during the holiday season. It was extremely difficult to implement something that had not been a part of the plans, but we gained the cooperation of more and more people as we progressed, and eventually succeeded in producing the special content "Greeting Box" available only on smartphone devices (available until February 2017).
--The cards that we use to convey our gratitude during the Christmas and New Year seasons are called "greeting cards," so what does the digital content titled "Greeting Box" entail?
Takada："Greeting Box" is a communication tool for conveying your emotions to the other party, and allows users to produce an original movie message by combining several scenes. In this system, users enter the name of the gift recipient, select the message and patterns, and choose from the many story parts available to complete their "Greeting Box." Japanese people typically find it difficult to express honest emotions such as "thank you" and "I love you," but a tool like this makes it easier for them to convey their thoughts to others. I also sent one to my mother this morning, and she replied immediately to say, "Thank you for the wonderful message." This exchange was given new life precisely because of this content.
--The scene with the motif of the paper cutout left a deep impression. How was that created?
Takada：A physical object that we can put into a gift box would be cosmetic products, but conceptually is no more than the emotion of caring for the other party. In short, we captured the gift box itself as a significant reference point that symbolizes "Share Beauty." The gift box contains dozens of overlapping thoughts and stories, and we wanted people to feel that these are things happening around the world. In our discussions with BBmedia, which produced the movie and digital content together with us, we sensed the potential in paper cutouts that are finished to look like a paper story theater. On top of that, we also felt that the warmth that paper holds as a material is perfect for expressing important emotions.
--Who was the creator behind the illustration that takes us a century back in time, bringing to mind the Taisho era?
Takada：That was created by Takashi Yamaguchi, a former member of Shiseido's Advertising and Design Department. We wanted a drawing of a female image that was smart and dignified, as embodied in previous Shiseido illustrations. When we considered who could give expression to this, Mr. Yamaguchi, who has worked on many illustrated advertisements for Shiseido, came to mind. Shiseido was born in Ginza, and built up tradition and history. The desire to have consumers from around the world experience that uniqueness was the reason why we asked Mr. Yamaguchi to sketch a background of the Taisho era. We asked him to incorporate the key karakusa-moyo into the characters and all parts of the background scenery. After producing the animation based on the original picture, we filmed frame by frame the shots of the paper that had been cut out using a laser cutter. I believe the finished product was one that exuded great warmth.
--The retro Taisho-style designs and illustrations appear to be the polar opposite of the Millennial generation and the cutting-edge element of the digital content.
Takada：When we interviewed several women in the target audience, we felt that the standards that Millennials use to select things seem to be simple and flat, such as whether something is good or bad, whether they like or dislike it, or whether it is cute or not. They did not seem to have the preconception that something is unfashionable simply because it is old. They are honest in saying that they like something if it is adorable, even if it is old. For that reason, we wanted to propose the classical expressions that are part of Shiseido's heritage in a form that would also be acceptable to Millennials. While we aim to update our promotional campaign to something contemporary, we feel that we should also disseminate something that gives a sense of Shiseido's culture.
--I understand that this is the third year that you are working on the holiday promotional campaign. How is it in comparison with the past two years?
Takada：One of the goals that we achieved was to incorporate the digital content and create a promotional campaign for the consumers that is not restricted to the storefront, but which also matches the needs of modern times. At the same time, we gained a renewed sense that this was something fundamental in the approach toward manufacturing. Rather than producing designs that are merely beautiful, our constant desire is to create something that can serve our consumers as much as possible. I feel that the theme "Share Beauty," which connects people, gave us the opportunity to do that.
--What does "serving the consumers" encompass?
Takada：I feel that it encompasses providing support for communication. Consumers not only purchase cosmetic products during the holiday season as material things, but also want to be beautiful with them, to meet someone special, and to spend time together with that person. When they apply lipstick for this special time together, we could perhaps say that the lipstick takes on the presence of a supporter of communication. I hope that the original movie and "Greeting Box" that we came up with for this campaign will provide many people with the chance to reach out and communicate their thoughts to others.