The Importance of Miso Soup

The Company
9 July 2019

Nostalgia marketing, as previously discussed, can certainly drive a sale when used right. Everyone loves a feel-good throwback by legacy brands. Whether it’s reliving childhood cartoons and games or a specific product once cherished and now lost in the changing times, customers love revisiting pleasant memories. 

We’ve seen international Western brands do it, but what about the other side of the world? 

Japanese marketing has always leaned towards the slightly more eccentric overtures in their advertisement. However, they get the message delivered in pleasantly surprising ways. 

Miso soup for the soul 

Marukome, a Japanese miso soup paste brand, found its way into the hearts of its audience with a recent video campaign. Comprised of 90-second animated advertisements, audiences were treated to the nostalgic yellow tones of Hayao Miyazaki-esque that highlighted the campaign’s motto, “Bringing Families Together”. Individual characters of mothers, fathers, and children reflect on the times of hardship and happiness with their family, with each fond memory tied back to the hearty, belly-warming goodness of miso soup.

Heartwarming, no? 

The universal relatability of nostalgia and family values hits home among a global audience. Even audience members who have very little exposure to anime or miso soup are able to relate to the feel-good feels. Nostalgia transcends the boundaries of language, especially in relation to food. Some know of chicken soup. Likewise, others know of miso soup. Ultimately, both remember the warm feelings in their tummies from a hot bowl of soup on a cold day. 

Unchanging through the times 

Family and traditions are vital parts of Japanese culture, as is anime. Marukome pulled it all together in a beautifully-executed advertising campaign that highlights all three. 

One of the key themes that Marukome’s heartwarming series touches on is the passage of time. As children grow and parents age, family dynamics change — but traditions stay the same. Not only do the commercials tie into the idea of miso soup as a traditional staple at mealtimes, but it connects inadvertently to the brand’s values and endurance through the years. This is done by showcasing the consistent presence of miso soup (and therefore Marukome) in the lives of these anime characters (representations of the audience). 

Marukome relies on the desire for reliving these moments of nostalgia to deliver their brand message.  

Subtlety at its finest 

The Japanese seem to inhabit two ends of the extreme when it comes to subtle and…well, extreme. Their television advertisements have been known to raise an eyebrow or two or tug at heartstrings at whim. However, the one thing the Japanese certainly do best is delivering on subtlety.  

In Marukome’s adverts, the prominence of the brand and its marketed product is barely even noticeable until near the end. Subtle brand marketing and clever product placement have taken the place of the blatant product marketing seen throughout the ‘90s.

Food for thought 

Subtlety in advertising today gives customers something to think about. In contrast to the obnoxious commercials from days of yore, today’s marketing places the suggestion of purchase decisions in the minds of the audience. Customers of today’s generation are more inclined to watch commercials and buy into a brand’s products if they’re executed with a degree of intelligence (and therefore subtlety). 

When looking back on the good ol’ days, be smart about it. Be subtle.

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