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NEC’s Gen Z Whisperers

Bridging the brand gap with Anime and Oshikatsu

SavoringEveryday is an anime-style corporate brand campaign video by NEC that highlights how technology can power the hopes and dreams of students, Generation Z, and all who are young at heart.

Catching the attention – and imaginations – of Gen Z is like riding a lightning bolt: fleeting, unpredictable, and demanding constant evolution. NEC, with its 125-year legacy, knew it had to break free from its “computer company” image to resonate with young minds. Enter the NEC Youth Project, a daring experiment fueled by GIFs, “Oshikatsu” and a whole lot of creative genius.

Forget stuffy press releases and corporate jargon. The Youth Project is all about Instagram-worthy snippets of daily life, infused with the vibrant energy of Generation Z. The weapon of choice? GIF illustrations, those dancing loops of color and emotion that populate the youth's digital universes.

“This isn’t about bombarding them with NEC facts,” explains Takashi Sumiya, Head of Corporate Branding Department. "It’s about creating a connection, a feeling of ‘Hey, that’s kinda like my life!’” And what better way to do that than through the lingo of “Oshikatsu”, a Japanese word which loosely translates to the art of cheering on your idols and passions?

Take Sakurako Shirakawa, the GIF guru behind the project. She envisions NEC’s technology and services as the silent supporters, the invisible guardians of an unstoppable daily life. “Imagine zooming through your morning commute on a bullet train powered by NEC, or having your favorite influencer's concert lit up by NEC lighting," she enthuses. “We’re not shoving it in their faces, we're letting them discover the connections on their own.”

Embracing anime, creators and “Oshikatsu” in NEC’s ‘tomanichi’ Instagram and X accounts

And discover they do! The project boasts a roster of diverse creators, each injecting their unique style and passions into the illustrations. Think retro vibes meets futuristic dreams, sprinkled with a healthy dose of self-expression and a pinch of “Yas queen!” Gen Z recognizes itself in these animated vignettes, sees its triumphs and struggles reflected back in a language it understands.

“It’s not just about marketing, it’s about building relationships,” says Ryo Kugata, a recent hire who played a key role in understanding the Gen Z pulse. “These creators, they're influencers in their own right. When they endorse NEC’s values, it resonates authentically with their followers.”

And the strategy is working. The project has sparked conversations, fueled curiosity, and chipped away at the "NEC who?" barrier. Young eyes are starting to see the tech giant not as a relic of the past, but as a potential partner in their unstoppable futures.

The Youth Project is a testament to the power of embracing the new, of speaking the language of your audience, and of letting young talent unleash its creativity. It’s a reminder that sometimes, the best way to win over a generation is not by thumping your chest, but by joining their dance, cheering on their “Oshikatsu”, and letting your presence be woven into the fabric of their daily lives.

So, the next time you see a GIF dancing across your screen, a vibrant kaleidoscope of daily triumphs and dreams, remember – it might just be NEC, not selling technology, but building future stakeholders one memorable moment at a time.

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February 14, 2024