Can Anime fans skyrocket your brand into another dimension?
Shade ThompsonSocial & Content Marketing Manager
It’s evident that knowing your target audience is one of the key components to driving brand awareness and harnessing your community. But what if we told you that expanding your audience group effectively could help grow your business? Particularly amongst anime fans…
Before we take a deep dive into the global growth of the anime landscape, let’s take a look at its origins and what makes this genre so captivating.
Anime is known for its fascinating form of animation entertainment; derived from its iconic style of hand-drawn illustrations (Manga), combined with heavily stylised animation. Fusing compelling storylines, engaging characters, colourful art and visual effects, the Japanese-originated art form captures the hearts of many all over the world.
Why should brands care about anime?
“Anime is one of the cornerstones of our investment in Japan, watched by nearly 90% of our members here last year. At the same time, interest in anime has grown worldwide, and more than half of our members globally tuned into it last year” – Kohei Obara, Director of Anime, Netflix. [i]
The anime industry is a powerhouse proving to be a cultural phenomenon. Not only is it favoured amongst current fans it also has an explosive growth in popularity with new audiences. With the global demand for anime content, the US$25 billion market is going on a rapid upward trajectory and is estimated to reach over US$52 billion by 2032. [ii]
All roads are leading towards anime audiences from huge corporations to small brands, contributing to its ever-expanding reach. Here are some interesting insights to give you an overview of the growing market:
- Over 50% of global viewers were engaged with anime in 2021. [iii]
- Global demand for anime content grew 118% between 2020 - 2022. [iv]
- In 2020, Netflix announced its partnership with six Japanese creators to develop new original content. [v]
- Crunchyroll (anime streaming platform) reached 5 million paid subscribers and had 120 million registered users in 2021. [vi]
- Only 6% of Gen Z have never heard of anime. In comparison, 27% of the general population isn’t familiar with the genre. [vii]
- In 2020, Demon Slayer transformed into the highest-grossing series and film in Japanese box office history, with sales grossing over US $365million nationally and $504 million worldwide. [viii]
- The most searched anime series in the UK include Pokémon and Demon Slayer, both listed on the top 10 highest-grossing anime franchises of all time. Other anime series on the UK’s most searched list are Naruto, My Hero Academia, and Jujutsu Kaisen. [ix]
Whilst anime expands at an astonishing rate, opportunities arise for brands that effectively reach this audience, making it an exciting industry to explore and analyse.
How are brands leveraging this audience?
Despite some of the most ground-breaking anime series birthed in the 90s, and the origins of anime dating back to the early 1900s, brands are powering up their marketing efforts with the influential genre to stay relevant and broaden their audiences in the 21st century.
Coca Cola x Bleach 2022
In 2022, Coca-Cola announced its collaboration with Bleach ahead of its latest launch, marking the return of the anime and manga series after ten years. [x] Bleach tells the story of a teenager who gains the power to see and fight ghosts (after an encounter with a Soul Reaper – a supernatural being) and battles evil spirits and powerful enemies with his friends and allies to save the world.
The collaboration plays on the essence of the story, reflected in the branding of the Japanese-exclusive Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Soul blast. Inviting fans to “Taste the action” this product applies the theme of 'action' and is said to help you “become the strongest version of yourself”. [viii]
As described by Coca-Cola’s creative director for China and Mongolia Charlotte Sng, the purpose of the campaign purpose to ‘amplify the product and the brand elements whilst weaving a compelling story’ – leaving no room for jumping on the anime bandwagon and plenty of room for authenticity and the acknowledgement of the Japanese roots. [viii]
Jimmy Choo x Sailor Moon 2023
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the iconic manga series, luxury brand Jimmy Choo teamed up with Sailor Moon to release a capsule collection. [xi] Sailor Moon follows the story of a teenager who juggles high school experiences whilst battling villains with her guardians and friends to protect the Earth and the galaxy.
The collaboration represents the style and shoes worn by the five main Sailor Moon characters, focussing on personalisation for its audiences and building on that connection to both brands.
This partnership is said to reflect both brands’ shared values; genre-defying creativity, bold individuality and female empowerment which not only drove quick sales but also contributed to the sold-out items from the collection.
“[It’s] a manga and anime that resonates, bridging cultures and languages, speaking to different generations, bringing us all together. That is what drew me to this project.” - Sandra Choi, Creative Director, Jimmy Choo [xii]
Coca-Cola and Jimmy Choo are just a few of the many brands with the ‘Gotta catch ‘em all’ approach regarding their marketing strategy for audience expansion. Other brand collaborations for this market include Adidas x Dragonball Z [xiii], Supreme x Akira [xiv], BAPE x One Piece [xv], Coach x Naruto [xvi] and most recently, anime influences within films outside of animation such as 2023 film, Creed III.
Anime: the superhero that saves brands
Anime has become a popular medium for marketing and promotion, with many brands looking to tap into the anime fanbase to boost their sales and visibility. The success of anime-based marketing campaigns, collaborations, and adaptations has proven that the anime industry can save struggling or stagnant brands by providing a fresh perspective, a new audience, and a unique visual style that can capture the attention of consumers.
The Fall and Rise of Cyberpunk 2077
In 2020, the troubling launch of the highly anticipated video game Cyberpunk 2077 revealed some unfortunate results for Polish games firm CD Projekt Red. Due to the performance issues, from crashes to frame rate drops, gamers were not impressed, leading to a high number of negative reviews and the removal of the game from the PlayStation store.
Rather than just relaunching the game with information about the new updates, CD Projekt Red teamed up with Netflix instead to produce the anime series Cyberpunk: Edgerunners in 2022. [xvii]
Not only did this strategic collaboration create another captivating story for the fans to enjoy that incorporated elements of the game, but also led to a record-breaking 20 million copies of the game sold just two weeks after the anime release. [xviii]The anime was positively received to the extent that it heavily drove sales despite the initial negative reputation of the game which was also revealed in CD Project Red’s Q3 report. [xix]
By choosing a medium people were interested in and telling the story through anime to accommodate their product, the gaming firm repositioned its value due to the art of respecting and understanding its audiences.
Unlock your Brand’s Super Saiyan potential and overpower your competitors
So, can anime fans really skyrocket your brand into another dimension? The answer is yes! Based on its position in the market, further investments, the growing appetite for the genre reaching incredible heights and the transformation from subculture to mainstream, partnerships and so on, anime is becoming unstoppable.
However, its success can only be defined by your brand’s identity – what your story is, your brand’s values and how you convey that message to this audience group through strategic and creative marketing. Looking at each anime as its own brand and the audience intersections that come with it to deliver the right message is also a huge component of its success.Both anime and manga evoke a strong sense of passion and emotion through unique storylines, beautiful visual effects and most importantly, captivating storytelling, all of which are the same components of building your brand.
If you would like our help to channel your inner Goku of Dragonball Z and transform your brand like a super saiyan to help you reach wider audiences effectively and conquer your competitors, contact us and we’ll help you build a strategy to skyrocket your brand awareness.
[i] Ghost in the Shell SAC_2045,’ ‘JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure’ Return as Netflix Reveals 40 Anime Titles for 2022
[ii] Global Anime Market is Anticipated to be Valued at a Revenue of US$ 25.62 Bn in 2022 & is Expected to Grasp US$ 52.99 Billion by 2023
[iii] More than half of Netflix’s global viewers stream anime
[iv] Demand for anime content soars
[v] Netflix expands commitment to anime
[vi] Crunchyroll Tops 5 Million Subscribers, 120 Million Registered Users Worldwide
[vii] Crunchyroll Market Research
[viii] Why marketers should care about anime
[ix] Every Country’s Favourite Anime
[x] Bleach and Coca-Cola Team Up for Limited Edition Drink Collab
[xi] Jimmy Choo x Sailor Moon collection
[xii] Shop Sailor Moon's Shoes, Thanks To This Incredible Jimmy Choo Capsule Collection
[xiii] Adidas x Dragonball Z collection
[xiv] Supreme x Akira collection
[xv] BAPE x One Piece
[xvi] Coach x Naruto
[xvii] CD Projekt Revenue Up 70% After Netflix Cyberpunk: Edgerunners Launch
[xviii] Over 20 million copies of Cyberpunk 2077 sold
[xix] CD Project Red Q3 2022 Report
Illustration created by @artsadvocateuk