View Full Version : Product placement in anime

08-20-2008, 03:09 AM
There's a lot of prominent product placement in anime nowadays, sometimes obfuscated, sometimes not. There are many prominent examples, e.g.:

1. Code Geass - Pizza Hut and Biglobe
2. Neon Genesis Evangelion - U.C.C. Coffee (obfuscated to I.C.C.)
3. Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu and Ah My Goddess - McDonalds (obfuscated to 'WenDonalds' in Episode 6 of NHnH, with the Golden Arches upside down, similarly in AMG). NHnH also includes a rather realistic portrayal of actual shops in Akihabara, with no obfuscation.
4. The Cat Returns - NTT DoCoMo (NTP YoCoMo)
5. Whisper of the Heart - Family Mart and Yamato (Kuroneko) Takyuubin
6. Tsukihime Lunar Legend - 7-Eleven (24-Seven) and Mitsui Sumitomo Bank (Mitsutomo Sumii Bank)

Obviously a lot of the products that appear in these placements are for Japanese companies but occasionally you'll see ones for international companies that anyone anywhere would recognize. I wonder why they bother to obfuscate them in this case, since even the obfuscated version is an equally obvious reference. Obviously a lot of these details are needed to make a scene look authentic, but sometimes it goes a bit too far.

Any other notable (or egregious) examples of anime product placement? What do you think about product placement in general?

08-20-2008, 03:25 AM
"Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu and Ah My Goddess - McDonalds (obfuscated to 'WenDonalds' in Episode 6 of NHnH, with the Golden Arches upside down, similarly in AMG)."

There's something similar in Inuyasha where Kagome and her classmates hang out but I don't remember exactly what it was called.

08-20-2008, 10:01 AM
I like it because I think it's funny to see a McDonald's or Pizza Hut in an animated show. If anime starts going overboard and having product placement in every show, that might start to get obnoxious, but for now I don't mind.

08-20-2008, 10:09 AM
but iirc if it's obfuscated it's not a official tie-in
so that cant be product placement >__<

this ones one of the oldest ive seen:
NHK=NHK ni yokoso

08-20-2008, 10:11 AM
hmm...I saw a boston pizza box in Kiddy Grade,
and The place Kagome and her friends went to was called WacDonalds(pretty similar to Macdonalds =D)

08-20-2008, 10:56 AM

08-20-2008, 12:22 PM
^ Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. xD Can you really call that product placement though? I mean, is it promoting PSP or DS? Both at once? :p

It seems silly but you know there's some Sony exec right now going "Dual touch screen PSP? That's not a bad idea..." :pika21:

08-20-2008, 01:02 PM
Pizza Hut is seen in several episodes of Darker Than Black

08-20-2008, 02:55 PM
Using "real things" is often utilized to inject as much background reality into the story, helps suspend the disbelief when some girl whips out a 20 ton hammer from hammerspace to pound the unfaithful boyfriend into pancake. Also readers (japanese) can identify with the setting as being familiar to surroundings they know. It's like depicting american urban life in a cartoon by having fast food restaurants, starbucks in the background. You can place the setting by the background.

The obfuscation is there because there is no official tie-in. Violating copyright could land the studio in a lot of hot soup, hence they edit it a bit so it's not too "obvious", yet familiar enough so any 6 year old can figure out the link. Companies tend not to be too bothered because
A) Upper management does not watch that much anime and
B) It's good free publicity, unless the show was a hentai flick. A family oriented company would definitely object to having its name/reputation linked to something like that.

That being said, there's a trend of companies taking an active interest in having product placements, not just in anime but also in games. There are a couple of articles of advertising appearing within games like Rainbow Six: Las Vegas (the billboards show real adverts). Pizza Hut took the rare step of being heavily involved with Code Geass, even going so far as having a mascot made (I am quite certain that Cheese-kun did not exist prior to CG, anyone confirm?)

It's not a company, but Singapore was referenced in Cowboy Bebop as being Faye Valentine's hometown. The Merlion appears in a number of her memory flashes.

08-20-2008, 03:13 PM
I don't really mind as long as they are giving free away Code Geass products ^^

http://i33.tinypic.com/67jwbo_th.jpg (http://i33.tinypic.com/67jwbo.jpg)http://i35.tinypic.com/beg7sl_th.jpg (http://i35.tinypic.com/beg7sl.jpg)
how cool are those compare to the overly used Pizza Hut logo? xD

it's like "Where is Waldo", trying to figure out when they are going to show it ^^'

08-20-2008, 08:25 PM
It's not a company, but Singapore was referenced in Cowboy Bebop as being Faye Valentine's hometown.

Wait, Singapore ISN'T a company?

08-20-2008, 08:34 PM
I don't really know about the obfuscation. Evangelion obfuscated UCC to ICC as I mentioned, but apparently there is an official tie-in. Don't know if that came up after the anime originally aired though. A few months ago in front of JR Akihabara station there was a vending machine selling UCC Iced Coffee with the Evangelion characters on it. I bought one, and with luck I managed to get one with Rei in a maid uniform. I intended to keep it, but I'm afraid the janitors here in the office threw it away thinking it was garbage. :(

08-23-2008, 07:33 PM

Its not so bad and in most cases when you see a fast food restaraunt and they dont directly plug it, its most likely not paid advertising. Its accualy just the writer trying to find something to make the Anime feel more familiar, or to help establish a location.

Doesnt bug me unless there like "Hey, you should eat at pizza hut, thier medium pizza special is only 9.99 while supplies last"

08-23-2008, 09:04 PM
never noticed it..alwayas too busy reading the subtitles.

08-25-2008, 06:39 AM
never noticed it..alwayas too busy reading the subtitles.

You need faster eyes... or reading glasses. :neko:

08-25-2008, 07:39 AM
a brief cameo of Kentucky Fried Chicken can be seen in Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni...
KFC was obfuscated into KCF, with the red motif turning into a blue one...
Ryuugu Rena endearingly refers to a Colonel Sanders mascot as "Kenta-kun"...

personally, i like product references in anime, especially comedies...
most references i've seen are often done with comedic effect...

08-29-2008, 07:51 PM
I fail to see why something as American as Pizza Hut was edited out of the US broadcast version of Code Geass, I mean wtf, are they too good for imported anime or what? (that would have been free advertising if they wouldn't have edited it out)

... sorry rant over, just had to say it. :P

BTW, Love the pizza box npdcb. (just noticed it but jeez how frelling small is that thing? not to mention the pizza that came in it?)

but yea, in my opinion i don't mind it, as long as it isn't something like they do in american prime time shows and point it out loud and clear while smiling and looking at the POV/camera...

08-29-2008, 09:08 PM
Pizza Hut Japan, and Pizza Hut Japan only, sponsors the show. Bandai Entertainment probably realized that it would take them too long to work out a similar deal with Pizza Hut Global (Pepsico I believe), and rather than risk a trademark infringement lawsuit they just obscured it instead to dodge the issue. Large companies are notorious for moving slowly in such matters: working out such a deal with them might well have delayed the North American release for a year or more, and that delay might have represented an opportunity cost greater than any product placement revenue they could have hoped for.

I dunno, in my case the placement works. Doesn't hurt that I live near a cluster of malls owned by the Pizza Hut licensor in this country...

08-29-2008, 10:01 PM
I see you're point, thnx stormwyrm, didn't mean to get off topic.

Dark One
09-07-2008, 11:35 AM
As long it's not too flashy and annoying, or advertise something that should not (like cigarettes), and it helps keeping the quality of the anime high, there should be no problem. :)

09-07-2008, 04:19 PM
The funny names have to do with the funny way Japanese copyright laws work. Though things are a bit more relaxed, these days. Also, advertising is getting more common as falling revenues in the industry prompt studios to seek out more sponsors and offer them better deals than they had to in the past. Unless the market turns around soon, and don't hold your breath, expect to see more of this stuff.

ja ne