Friday, December 28, 2007

Blog and Advertising

Surf to a search engine, plug “Shinkansen N700”, and search the web. Hey what to get as results? Back comes scores of photos and comments about the smooth ride, dizzying speed and comfortable work areas of Japan’s newest bullet train. . The attention is not a fluke. It’s the effect of a publicity campaign by Central Japan Railway Co. targeted at the blogosphere. This summer, the railway invited a dozen bloggers to a press preview, which included a first-class ride from Tokyo to Osaka.

“Their blogs are so precise, even more so than our own site, and are very interesting.” Says Hiroshi Shigeta, a railway spokesman.
Ridership for the N700 model, which runs across the country, is up 12% over last year, compared with 5% overall, which Shigeta attributes in part to the attention of bloggers.

Japanese firms that make automobiles, high-tech gadgets, games software and beauty products have begun to reach out to bloggers in the hope that they’ll promote products and create online buzz.

“Personal blogs can be the most powerful media” since it can convey credibility, says Tetsuya Honda, a marketing consultant who runs BlueCurrent Japan. A recent study by Nikkei Research of Tokyo shows that nearly 40% of blog readers say they have bought at least one product after reading it on a blog.

The pioneer in this practice is Nissan Motor. Last year it invited about 100 popular bloggers to its head office for the launch of its new car, Skyline. A Google search on the event turned up nearly 14,000 Web pages, in addition to the company’s official blog.

Japanese blog entries tend to read like personal diaries or reviews of products, says Nobuhiro Seki, general manager of Six Apart, which introduced blog software to Japan. People talk in detail about what they ate, bought, read and watched on television, and often do so passionately. Nearly half a million blog entries on products (excluding those on politics and social issues) are written each day, according to Blog Watcher. Firms are taking notice now in part because of Web sites that rank bloggers, making it possible to identify the most influential. In addition, in recent months software tools that analyze blog postings for trends and changing preferences have become available for businesses. Blogs are “a frontier of product feedback,” says Ichiro Kiyota, marketing director at Six Apart.

The use of blogs by businesses to promote their products is spreading in Japan. The number is expected to grow, says Seki. Encouraging bloggers can be a gamble, but when it works, it works well.

In Mauritius, products are advertised on nearly all media; television, radios, newspapers, internet, posters,,,etc,,,,, why not use blog as a new advertising tool??


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