Since many Japanese adults grow up with anime and manga, it is only natural that brands try to communicate with consumers using characters that trigger a certain familiarity or nostalgia. Unfortunately, the Japanese character market is in decline according to a recent report by Character Databank. In 2012, the market shrank by 4.5% compared to the year before, now sitting at about 1.5 trillion yen. The change in media environment, as well as the aging population and low birth rate are some of the reasonings why the industry is stalling.
But the slowing market is not stopping brands from bringing new creative characters into being. A soda beverage from France, Orangina, landed in Japan for the first time last year. The popular drink is leveraging the online social illustration platform Pixiv to give its Orangina product a personified/human character.
A total of 200 illustrations will be chosen, and the winners will be awarded a one-of-a-kind soda can with his or her character printed on the can. These premium cans will also be displayed at the famous Comiket exhibition in August, as well as the Japan Expo planned to take place in France this coming July.
You can already find over 170 Orangina girl pictures over on Pixiv. We’ve included a couple of fun examples below.
For those of you not familiar with Pixiv, it’s a social platform that was launched back in September of 2007, which allows creators and fans to communicate through art (such as illustrations, manga, as well as essays). It has over five million registered users, and over three billion monthly page views as of September of 2012. Pixiv operates many sister websites like Drawr, where users can upload and share hand-drawn illustrations; and Pixiv Encyclopedia, an encyclopedia for animations, comics, and games.