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MSLGROUP Japan - Business-to-Business Campaign

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: MSLGROUP Japan
Company Description: MSLGROUP is Publicis Groupe’s strategic communications and engagement group, advisors in all aspects of communication strategy: from consumer PR to financial communications, from public affairs to reputation management and from crisis communications to experiential marketing and events.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Marketing - Business-to-Business

Nomination Title: MSLGROUP Japan: International Olive Council - Refining understanding of Olive Oil in the Country of Soy Sauce

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since 1 January 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Genesis / Background:

Japan’s first olive oil boom occurred after the IOC ran a massive campaign in 1980s, placing it #2 in the market, an ignorance in both consumers and industry professionals of real quality and applications in Japanese cooking remained. From 2012, reports of low-quality oil fraudulently labeled as higher quality oils lead to a “distrust” or “disbelief.” Also, surveys showed a majority of consumers thought olive oil expensive.

The (IOC) is the world’s top-most authority on olive oil in the world. Though Japan is one of the top-consuming market in the world, it is not an IOC member and it has no quality regulations, therefore it is difficult for the Japanese importers as well as consumers to buy olive oil at a fair price.

It was necessary to educate Japan about the different types and grades, health benefits and Japanese cuisine applications. Our campaign aimed do the following to aid achievement of midterm marketing goals.

-To increase positive awareness of olive oil
-To give industry agents and the public the ability to recognize quality olive oil
-To increase consumption by the Japanese in general


The main target were set as industry decision makers: retail and foodservice, the channels to reach importers/distributors who usually check “source,” “price,” “category,” and “quality” when purchasing olive oil, according to a pre-execution survey. They also make decisions based heavily on their view of consumer desires, demand and trends which are influenced much by the health information from doctors, specialists and celebrities.

So our strategy focused on promoting the health benefits of olive oil and its credibility as an excellent ingredient fitting Japanese consumption habits and cuisine through influencers engagement and at trade shows as well as online owned and earned media. Key messages were set around “olive oil & Japanese cuisine,” “health,” “standards,” in all the digital content creation under the theme “Believe in Olive Oil”.


Comprehensive press kit and marketing materials based on “Believe in Olive Oil” for the distribution to industry agents which gave them tools to check their own knowledge of olive oil.
Launch event with 200 participants incl. a famous chef, doctor and TV celebrities to educate about the combination of Japanese food and olive oil, health benefits, and olive oil quality.
B2B workshops and media tours in Tokyo, Kyoto, Fukuoka and Nagoya, the four top gourmet cities in Japan with a total of 168 participants.
Cookpad Recipe Contest for Japanese recipes using olive oil with an educational section detailing the health benefits of olive oil. Recipes were made available to industry agents.
Official Website -- Hosts educational interviews with 16 key opinion leaders, 42 newly developed recipes by key opinion leaders and from Cookpad contest, and information on the health benefits of olive oil.
Exhibited and held educational seminars in three of the largest food-related tradeshows, FOODEX, Delicatessen Tradeshow, FABEX for industry actors with total of 6,032 participants.


Media: Over 9.3 million EUR worth ad-value and reach of over 760,700,255 were created by generating media coverage.

Industry Agents: In the follow-up ex-ante B2B survey in 12/2016 of industry agents, awareness of IOC increased 22%, awareness of regulations increased by 20%, and misconceptions about olive oil reduced by almost half. More demand for quality and classification was also confirmed. Industry actively used the recipes and translated standards. Several major olive oil manufacturers followed to run olive-oil and Japanese-cuisine themed campaigns.

Market: The olive oil market was predicted to reach 341 Mil. USD (40 Bil. JPY) in 2016, earning it “top growth in the food industry” according to The Japan Food Journal in July, 2016. The actual amount of consumption in 2016 is yet unannounced, but the same media reported in 2017 that market growth was attributed to health trends, the beginning of more fair pricing and the market’s restructuring.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

-Based on the in-depth understanding of target audience and their purchasing journey, the campaign was developed through unbound channel with various stakeholders and influencers involved to advocate our story.
-Messages were developed based on consumer insights and seeded through all the content at every communication touch point.
-Industry attitude has changed significantly.
-Generated a lot of positive media coverage using trusted Japanese figures.
-The consumption of olive oil in Japan has grown significantly, which was attributed to health trends, the beginning of more fair pricing and the market’s restructuring.