How do you sell locally produced apples, with the intent of especially advertising to women between the ages of 30 and 40? That’s easy: you just make advertising posters with sexy anime men.
The Iwate Prefecture branch of ZEN-NOH (which is abbreviated from the Japanese words for “National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations”) came up with this idea back in 2019, and they’re still running with it. They hired Yoshiwo—who illustrated the light novel series Lord Marksman and Vanadis—for the job. The first poster they unveiled was Jonagold.
That did well enough that it’s been followed by Kiou.
And that did well enough to make way for Sun Fuji.
According to the company, people in their 30s tend not to eat as much fruit as other groups, and women tend to do more grocery shopping than men, so that’s why they went with this angle. A few stores felt the sexy posters had “too much impact” and wouldn’t use them. What they meant by “too much impact” hasn’t been specified, but we can imagine. However, most stores have been doing quite well with the bishonen posters. The ZEN-NOH branch spokesman said the posters “attracted attention on social media even among men,” and they got even more attention than they’d expected.
“It’s rare to see a fruit poster get attention, so we’re very grateful to see it go viral,” the spokesman said. “We’re particularly impressed at the posts we’ve seen from people drawing the characters for themselves. People tend to have an image of agricultural collectives as a conservative body, but I hope that we can transmit information in an amusing and playful way as much as possible.” He also joked, “We’re a little bit repentant about that,” about some people thinking the poster had “too much impact.”
Would sexy anime character posters get you interested in buying more locally grown fruits?
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.