Yubari’s Promo Grand Prix at the Cannes: going beyond the obvious

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Last year, the HBO Voyeur campaign won the Grand Prix in the Promo category. This year, a campaign for Yubari city won the Grand Prix in the same category, along with a PR Lion. If any proof is needed as to there’s no telling what will impact the Cannes jurors, here it is. The HBO Voyeur campaign was jaw-dropping in terms of conceptualization and execution. The Yubari city campaign is more traditional, relatively speaking. I am not for a moment suggesting that this wasn’t worthy of a Grand Prix. Just that it doesn’t always take an audacious, truly multi-media, eye-popping stuff to impress the jurors.

Yubari is a mining city in Japan. With a debt of $353 million, it went bankrupt in 2007. The task for Beacon Communications (affiliated with Leo Burnett & Dentsu) was to promote Yubari, reenergize its citizens, and help make the city economically viable once more. I thought the master stroke was in discovering this little nugget of information: Yubari city had the lowest divorce rate in Japan.

The low divorce rate was linked to an abundance of love and the tag line ‘No money, but love’. They created a loveable character called "Yubari Fusai" – (Fusai” means both “debt” and “married couple” in Japanese – how apt!). They then collaborated with the City to create additional schemes that positioned the city as a destination for happy couples – official certificates of happily married couples, branded merchandise and Yubari music CD’s, to name but a few.


I think the discovery of that little nugget of information and what they did with it made all the difference to the campaign. It may not be as spectacularly visual as the HBO Voyeur campaign but in its simplicity and unorthodox task of promoting a city, it touched a chord.

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