Shiseido, Pop-Culture and Advertising

I came across the below advertising examples from Shiseido whilst looking at their more recent campaign materials for 2017. I found it interesting that the brand have taken a step away from ‘traditional’ advertising in regards to glossy finishes and large copywriting, pulling the customer in, and have instead turned to celebrities, icons and bloggers, like many Western brands such as Maybelline (please see previous posts). As much as this reinforces how social media, celebrity culture and blogger culture are having an impact on marketing strategies, this also allows for a further, and instant connection between digital technologies, brand power and consumerist trends.

Even though these are print-led ‘advertising campaigns’ digitally led visuals and pop-culture ‘icons’ have been chosen as ambassadors, reinforcing the point of consumers generating a personal association with a brand, whilst buying into a message of that, ‘with our brand and our products, you too could be like them’. This is shown through the use of using Lady Gaga, The ‘Top’ Eastern Asian Icons and Japanese Beauty Bloggers. What I found even more interesting was that the imagery chosen of Lady Gaga, were all her own selfies that had been taken from her Instagram account, again causing a connection with the brand, and fans of Gaga alike, whilst forming a sense of inclusion. Using selfies from social media, reminded me of the ‘mirror gaze’ theory which was often featured in Shiseido’s earlier advertising, “reflecting their images to an external audience” whilst “self-inspecting” (Weisenfield, G. 2009), showing ones self-awareness. Furthermore in relation to Gaga, a Western ‘icon’ has been chosen whom has very light skin, fitting in with the stereotypical and promoted Japanese ‘ideal.

This ideology is also reflected in the further examples shown below.


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Below shows two different campaigns, one which showcases  The ‘Top’ Eastern Asian Icons and the other which showcases the lineup of Japanese Beauty Bloggers which will be used as ambassadors for the Shiseido brand. In contrast to the above, this really surprised me. Yes, the majority are portrayed to have very light skin, however all are of Asian race, opposed to Western as seen above with Lady Gaga. This makes me question the use of Lady Gaga as Japan and Eastern Asia obviously do have their own National icons, however, globalisation of Western culture, celebrity and consumerist trends I feel are still taken into account, claiming a share of an International market place.

Whilst in Japan I am keen to see what visuals and models are used in their stores, as well as featured in the National advertising campaigns.


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Weisenfield, G (2009). Visualising Culture; Selling Shiseido. Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. P, 24.