The Word Works

Consuming Japan

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Twenty Years It's Been image

Published By: John on 07/12/07
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Reading the article on Kirin Beer’s strategy for the next 100 years in the June, 2007 Bulletin of MCEI in Japan, I was startled to be reminded that it was in 1987, already two decades ago, that Asahi launched Asahi Super Dry and turned the Japanese beer industry on its head.

The bubble was still going up. It would be four years before the collapse in 1991. Super Dry perfectly caught the mood of its “Japan as No. 1” era, with a brand image combining international, dynamic, masculine, sophisticated values. I also noted the candor with which Kirin marketing chief Hidefumi Iwasa reflected on Kirin’s mistakes as it groped for ways to counter Asahi and address the emergence of hopposhu (malt liquor) and “third beverage” competitors to beer. I wondered how many USA or European marketing executives would so frankly discuss the lessons learned from failure instead of focusing entirely on upbeat success stories.

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