Japanese Crypto Exchanges Tap Star Power for Marketing Arms Race
Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have been very active in advertising their services. Several exchanges including Bitflyer, DMM Bitcoin, Tech Bureau’s Zaif and the hacked exchange Coincheck have been tapping into star power and launching TV commercials with original music.
Japanese Exchanges’ TV Commercials
Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges have been actively advertising their businesses. Last week, Tech Bureau’s Zaif exchange joined Bitflyer, DMM Bitcoin, Bitrade, and Coincheck in tapping into Japan’s star power to promote its services.
According to CM Soken Consulting, a commercial researcher operated by Tokyo Kikaku Co, “the presence of TV commercials by cryptocurrency exchanges has significantly increased in the past year,” Japan Times reported. “Between Dec. 20 to Jan. 19, TV ads by Coincheck and Bitflyer were aired 819 times in the Kanto region, comparable to major firms such as Toyota Motor Corp, NTT Docomo Inc, and Mcdonald’s Japan.”
The news outlet also pointed out that a huge billboard for “DMM Bitcoin featuring a Japanese celebrity coated in gold” is prominently displayed in Shibuya, one of the busiest and most famous shopping districts in Tokyo. “When I was in London I would see ads all over Facebook, but never on TV or in the streets like this,” a 20-year-old British tourist admitted as he stood beneath the billboard.
Kenji Harashima, a senior researcher specializing in financial technologies for the Mizuho Research Institute, was quoted:
Japanese exchanges are the most active in the world. Not only is this the result of tight regulations in China and South Korea, it is also because you can use leverage to make investments.
DMM Bitcoin, Bitflyer and Coincheck “have all advertised on web platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. These same exchanges have also aired TV commercials,” the publication added.
Tech Bureau’s Zaif
Last week, Tech Bureau which operates Zaif crypto exchange started broadcasting a commercial nationwide featuring Japanese actress, model, and singer Ayame Goriki. According to her Wikipedia page, she has been in 37 TV series and has appeared in 7 movies.
The 1-minute commercial also features an original song loosely translated as “Zaif for bitcoin” by a band called “Kaneko Mari & Zaif 2 Da Moon.” Zaif says that the nationwide promotion is aimed at increasing service awareness as well as “improving the image of the industry as a whole.”
Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, Bitflyer, was the first to run TV commercials at the end of April of last year, according to Japan Times. At the time, the Japanese government had just legalized bitcoin as a legal method of payment.
Bitflyer hired Japanese actress and model Riko Narumi to be the company’s spokesmodel and appear in its commercials.
DMM Group started advertising for its bitcoin exchange at the start of the year. The company launched a crypto exchange under the brand name DMM Bitcoin in January which supports 7 cryptocurrencies. Recently, it also launched a mining farm and a showroom in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan.
DMM Bitcoin’s commercials feature an actress and model known as Laura and another actress called Rika Nakagawa. Laura has also been in other DMM Group’s commercials including those for the company’s foreign exchange arm, DMM FX.
Too Much Ad Spending?
Bittrade and Coincheck crypto exchanges have tapped into star power to advertise their businesses. Bittrade hired Japanese actress Ruriko Kojima to be its face. Coincheck hired popular local comedian Tetsuro Degawa. However, Coincheck’s ads were removed following the hack that cost the exchange 58 billion yen worth of NEM.
“Coincheck executives have admitted that they might have put more priority on attracting customers with ads rather than enhancing security,” Japan Times wrote and quoted SBI Holdings’ CEO Yoshitaka Kitao saying:
The thing that makes me the most angry is that they spent money on commercials that should have been spent on their systems.
The Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA), an industry group with over 150 members including Coincheck, has requested its members to “advertise responsibly.”
What do you think of Japanese crypto exchanges’ advertising strategies? Which ads do you like most? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Zaif, Bitflyer, and DMM Bitcoin.
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