Tokyo, Japan, December 16, 2009 – A campaign created by Dentsu Public Relations Inc. to re-brand rice from Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido has won the Grand Prix at the 12th Japan PR Awards sponsored by the Public Relations Society of Japan.
The prize announced by the panel of judges at a PRSJ presentation held on December 10 marked the second year in succession that Dentsu PR has won Japan’s foremost public relations award.
The object of the campaign, launched in 2005, was to change public perceptions about rice grown in Hokkaido, where low brand recognition and a lack of consumer knowledge had negatively impacted sales of the island’s rice brands.
Despite the fact that Hokkaido produces top-quality rice with some of the highest production figures among all of Japan’s 47 prefectures, rice brands grown in other areas of Japan were more widely recognized. This was preventing Hokkaido farmers from securing a premium for their rice and causing them financial hardship.
Research conducted by Dentsu PR with a local university and an agricultural research institute determined that strong brand names led consumers to believe that certain types of rice are tastier than others.
Dentsu PR’s highly successful campaign created a new image for the Hokkaido brand that allowed for prices to be increased.
“I am very pleased that our PR campaign could successfully change the perception of consumers and delivered the message that there are many excellent rice brands in Hokkaido. We would like to contribute to the economic development of not only Hokkaido but also of other local regions through PR,” commented the senior manager of Dentsu PR’s Communication Design Division and campaign project leader, Kanji Sakai.
Such is the enhanced popularity of Hokkaido rice that major Japanese airlines serve Hokkaido rice with meals for first class passengers, Sakai notes. “We are proud that the judges recognized our efforts and awarded us the Grand Prix.”
Dentsu PR also won accolades for the public affairs campaign implemented for the Japan Dairy Council and for an event campaign executed in Shanghai for Japan External Trade Organization. A total of thirty campaigns from competing organizations were entered for this year’s PRSJ awards..
“I am very pleased that we could win the Grand Prix for the second consecutive year. We also won two category awards taking the total number of awards secured by our agency in 2009 to eight, including those we won overseas,” said Shigeki Ishimatsu, President of Dentsu PR. “I appreciate the support of our loyal clients who have continued to rely on us and enabled us to achieve success.”