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Online ad push pays off for Shiseido at Epica Awards

'High School Girl?'
An early scene in ‘High School Girl?’

TOKYO (TR) – A move toward online advertising is paying offing for Japanese cosmetics company Shiseido — at least when it comes to picking up prizes.

At the marketing industry’s Epica Awards in Berlin on November 19, the company’s short film “High School Girl?” took the Grand Prix Best Film prize.

The film, which runs for two and a half minutes, is shot in a classroom and shows high school girls awaiting their lessons. In a twist, the movie then goes in reverse and, using stop-motion photography, makeup artists go to work on the females to make a surprising transformation.

Created by Watts of Tokyo, the “extremely well executed” ad was “topical and striking” in the way it tackled gender identity, Epica jury president Olivier de Montchenu told Adweek.

The film has also been well received outside of the marketing industry. Thus far, it has tallied more than 8.1 million views on YouTube.

Speaking to The Tokyo Reporter, Tatsuyoshi Endo of Shiseido’s marketing department said that the ad “conveys the fun of makeup, especially to the younger generation.” He said that the video had received a particularly positive response from young people, and that this had helped raise the profile of the company.

“At the same time, by introducing our products in a ‘making of’ featurette, we aimed to foster a sense of familiarity to our company,” Endo said.

“High School Girl?” was released exclusively online in what is a steadily growing market in Japan. According to advertising giant Dentsu, spending on online advertising reached 1.052 trillion yen in 2014, an increase of 113.8 billion yen over the year before. Meanwhile, total advertising expenditure on non-satellite television is less than it was a decade ago.

Endo of Shiseido said his company is following the trend to move more budget to online promotion. “Online communication is getting more and more important alongside conventional media,” he said. “We believe this trend will continue for a while.”