We all know that DoCoMo (NTT), au (KDDI), and SoftBank (once Vodaphone) are fierce rivals in the Japanese mobile phone market. So who is behind their cutting-edge campaigns trying to win consumers over to their side at the expense of their enemies? Let’s take a tally.
DoCoMo = Dentsu
au = Dentsu
SoftBank = Dentsu
Yes, Dentsu — the world’s largest ad firm — runs the advertising for all three! Not going to see a lot of competitive advertising for mobile phones. Catch copy coming soon:
“Go for a difference with au (different does not necessarily imply better).”
“SoftBank has Cameron Diaz — but au and DoCoMo also have nice celebrities.”
“DoCoMo, au, and Softbank — all reliable, world-class communication devices!”
This development may also mean that a single firm controls all the ad space on the three proprietary mobile internet platforms (i-mode, ezweb, etc.), but I have not heard a confirmation on this yet.
Dentsu has been in the news lately for helping Japan’s ruling party orchestrate fake town meetings across the country to manipulate public opinion about policy. Not only does Dentsu have a huge hand in creating the country’s entertainment and advertising content, the company also finds the time to perform duties as a government organ for national information transmission. (Good trivia for all your dance music fans: Dentsu was also the once-employer for Ken Ishii, Captain Funk, and Moodman.)
Why did the semi-rebellious SoftBank go with Dentsu? Details remain muddy, but it is best to remember that SoftBank’s goal is to create its own monopoly keiretsu to rival the other huge vertically-integrated conglomerates. And if you’re going to play in the big leagues, you have to use the one supplier of chewing tobacco, right?
Over on Mutantfrog Travelogue, Aceface wrote: “I would say that the real problem in this country is that monopoly taken as a virtue.” Indeed. Let us touch the black Dentsu monolith with outstretched arms and progress from apes to tool-wielding men. (Cue one of the Strausses.)