Beer market in Japan

One thing that I always wondered here in Japan was the lack of beautiful girls in bikinis in beer commercials. I don`t know if that`s for cultural or legal reason, but that`s totally the opposite  of what happens in Brazil where almost every beer commercial seems to have semi-naked beauties.


Instead here there`s this trend to use sport celebrities to promote beer, Matsui, Ichiro, Nakata or any other famous athlete has probably done a beer commercial, which looks very bizarre for me as I can`t see the relation between alcohol and sport (besides watching).
But anyway, I was quite surprised to see Suntory`s using the girls above on their campaign, together with a famous comedian, to promote their Jokki Nama third-brand beer brand.Maybe it`s due to the fact that summer is around the corner, or is this a test to see if they can improve the sales of the product changing the ads?

The fact is that beer sales are not very good. Even though Japan is the 6th largest beer consumer in the world, sales have been declining for some time as the drinking population diminishes and the younger generation shows preferences for other kinds of alcoholic drinks.

On top of that the Japanese can become extremely cautious in difficult times, often making them even harder as we could see after the japanese bubble burst in the 90’s. Maybe this time they are headed the same way again. Toyo Keizai, an important economy magazine has just ran an article on the fall of beer and low-malt beer and the rise of third-brand beer(which are not really beer as they`re made of corn, soy and other ingredients). This category is 75 yen cheaper than regular beer and 20 yen cheaper than low-malt beer and had an increase of 26.5% in the first 5 months of this year, while regular beer sales shrank 7% and low-malt beer sales 14%.

Another factor that`s driving sales up is the fact that Japanese are refraining of going out and preferring to have a drink at home. Another product that is capitalizing on that is whiskey, Suntory`s Kakubin enjoyed a 11% rise in the same period, the first growth in 11 years, with a clever campaign that sparked a revival of Highball cocktails in Japan. The fact that these cocktails cost less than 100 yen per glass to prepare also matched the current trend.

Let`s see how Jokki Nama sales will be influenced with this campaign, I hope that if it`s successful Japan will start to display more Brazilian style ads 🙂