Japan Ready for Normal TV Ads to Return

A month after the earthquake and tsunami advertisers were embracing more cheerful spots again

Enough with the sympathy already. The Japanese want to get back to business.

Immediately after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit northern Japan March 14, marketers took a restrained approach in ads—a response consumers seemed to appreciate. But a poll from Tokyo agency I&S BBDO shows that a month after the crisis advertisers were embracing a more cheerful, almost comedic, attitude in TV ads. And now, according to the survey, consumers are “slightly fed up” with the deluge of ads that focus on encouraging and cheering up the population.

Some specifics: Right after the disaster, almost 60 percent of those surveyed thought it was appropriate only to advertise daily necessities like food and clothing. The latest sampling shows that TV spots thought inappropriate at the start of the crisis–like those for alcohol–were approved by the majority polled. (Also, with summer approaching, “energy saving” ads are getting a thumb’s up due to Japan’s nuclear plant issues.)

I&S BBDO rep Aya Miyashita, says TV advertising is almost back to normal. “People accept a more positive tone to encourage consumption,” he says.