Tissue marketing in Japan

By tissue marketing, I’m talking about using of packets of tissues as a medium of for advertisements. They seem to be everywhere here. On every street corner there seems to be someone giving out packs of tissues which include small ads for some service or other.

I am sure Japanese are so used to the rampant handing out of tissue packages wherever they go that it might not occur to them as something bizarre – but it is to foreigners. I may not have gone to many countries, so maybe it’s just me, but tissue marketing is certainly not at all common back in Singapore. Rather, tissues are usually sold by homeless people for S$0.20/packet (about ¥15) around busy areas.

So who are the target consumers for this tissue advertising? From the pictures on the packets, you can see cafes, hand phones, educational courses, and so on being advertised – of course entirely for Japanese. However, after speaking to some local friends, they either think the tissues are boring (see lower right-hand corner of the picture), troublesome or are just plain marketing gimmicks, and would seldom take the tissues from the distributors. To us foreign students, we would gladly take them because tissues are something you might have to use everyday in different circumstances. Still, the advertisements are in Japanese, and if it does reach out to the foreigners instead, I am not sure if all of us would bother to read – or even be able to read – what is written there, especially if the contents are text-loaded. Perhaps it would be better to just put pictures on the packets (like in the lower left-hand corner of the attached picture), or just the company’s name (see eyecity) for easy reading.

In addition, have also noticed odd sizes of the tissue packets (the large squarish ones), and how it is sometimes distributed together with another leaflet or poster (since we can’t just take the tissue, we are forced to take both). Dustbins are not readily available everywhere, so I can understand why it would be a pain to take the leaflet/magazine and having to hold on to it till we reach home, and wait for a particular day to send the trash out. In Singapore, Singaporeans are happy to take the leaflets from the distributors, because we can always trash it in a bin just within 5 metres of the distributor. Maybe that is why tissues aren’t really needed to make people take the advertisement papers. And why selling tissues would remain an ideal income source for certain people.

Article by CG
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