AIG and the All Blacks teach tourists how to drive in Japan ahead of Rugby World Cup

AIG has launched a major campaign that aims to help tourists and Japanese people avoid disaster, as the Rugby World Cup drives an influx of visitors.

The campaign focuses on the theme of driving, bringing the New Zealand All Blacks in to front the humourous but cautionary tale of the nuances around Japanese roads.

Matthew Walker, AIG Japan’s senior vice president and regional chief marketing officer, said: “Our history in Japan along with our unique global perspective and understanding of our Japanese customers has helped inform and develop the insight and opportunity for our individual, small business and corporate customers for 2019, 2020 and beyond.”

AIG and its agency TBWA\Hakuhodo leveraged the insight that car rental had increased as a way for tourists to discover Japan, and yet foreigners were more likely to get into car crashes than the Japanese.

The star piece of creative is a video that takes a tongue in cheek approach to explaining the road safety rules and differences in Japan. The ad will be seeded online using social channels, while the brand has also created an offline distribution network to make sure that both tourists and Japanese SMEs can communicate with each other better.

Explaining this move, Shuhei Tsuji, senior creative director at TBWA\Hakuhodo, said: “Our non-confrontational culture often results in difficulty effectively communicating and enforcing rules and regulations to overseas visitors. That’s why it was important for us to take a tongue-in-cheek approach to help the nation educate tourists in a fun and appealing way.”

A core group of influential characters make up ‘Team Yokoso’, which means Welcome, who will be charged with spreading the message behind the campaign and getting businesses ready for the influx of visitors. The group includes Dominic Walton-France, All Blacks deputy ambassador of New Zealand to Japan, as well as Yasuhiro Nagano, mayor of Beppu City, which will be home to All Blacks' training ground during the Rugby World Cup.

Content will also be distributed to 30,000 Japanese SMEs, to help them explain to foreigners the different rules of the road in Japan. The ‘How NOT To’ cards will be sent to F&B businesses, traditional inns and retailers.

The team also created a test for Japanese business owners, which aims to help them learn about different visitors cultures and understand more about the people likely to be visiting.

Yasuhiro Nagano, Mayor of Beppu City, said: “I think this is a great project for both overseas visitors and local businesses alike. I’m very keen to develop synergies between our municipal activities and the message and spirit presented by Team Yokoso to help it spread even further”.

All eyes are on Japan for sports sponsorship, as the Rugby World Cup starts later this year, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following the year after.

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