Is it a soy bean? Or is it a dog? It’s not exactly either. It’s a very strange, but very cute, creature that has the body of a bean and the face of a dog. It’s called Mameshiba. The Mameshiba family is made up of over 20 members, they have angelic faces and sweet voices, but the stories they tell will spoil any listener’s appetite... For instance, they might surprise you with a phrases such as this one: “You know what? When you kiss, 200 million bacteria are passed on from mouth to mouth each second.”
Originally, Mameshiba meant a young Shiba dog, the breed’s puppy. Mame is Japanese for bean and it’s also used to refer to something that’s small. For instance, when we talk about a short anecdote or a bit of trivia we call it Mame Chishiki. That’s how this dog-faced bean character who reports little anecdotes was born.
Why and how was the ad created?
The Mameshiba ad is composed of several chapters. When you see the ad, you’re not sure what kind of product it’s advertising. And, the fact is, there’s no product to advertise. Up until now, mascots had always been used to promote products that already existed. But the aim of this ad was simply to create the Mameshiba brand and also to introduce the different characters in this peculiar family.
The Mameshiba campaign was launched by one of Japan’s most important agencies, the Dentu advertising company, in order to create their own brand. They’ve always created innovative ads for other companies, but this was an in-house promotion: they wanted to do something new, with a lot of freedom, and using almost all of the company’s staff. The aim was to publicize the family of characters, and hope for new business opportunities to arise out of that. This is how they’ve managed to do something that had never been done in their company or other companies in the industry.
Just as they had hoped, by using every possible media, from television to the Internet, Mameshiba became a huge hit. New products featuring Mameshiba characters are appearing on the Japanese market every day. At the moment, there are over 60 different products, manufactured by different companies such as Bandai, Taito... that use Mameshiba’s image.
One good example is a special Mameshiba version that Bandai has created of one of its most famous products, the Mugen Edamame