The Rundown: Why anime is having a marketing moment in 2024

By Alexander Lee  •  March 15, 2024  •  5 min read  •

Ivy Liu

After languishing for years as a niche interest for basement-dwelling nerds, anime has made its way into the mainstream — and in 2024, marketers have gotten the memo. This year, major brands such as McDonald’s are investing in anime to kind goodwill among its various and growing Gen Z audience.

To today’s teenagers, the idea that anime was ever anything however wildly popular may probably near as a surprise. Thanks to the expansion of dedicated streaming providers and products such as Crunchryoll, Japanese animation is now extra accessible than ever before. Nonetheless no cultural force really hits the mainstream until brands and advertisers obtain involved. And in 2024, they are getting involved.

“2024 is the start of brands having dedicated global strategies for the anime space, in a way that they may probably have for the sports activities industry, music industry, gaming industry, et cetera,” said Tatiana Tacca, the founder of Oni Vision, a consulting practice dedicated to the anime and gaming space. “We have now not necessarily considered that on a global scale until now not too lengthy ago.”

Right here’s a breakdown of how — and why — anime has change into one in all brands’ favorite marketing tools in 2024. 

The most important numbers

  • On February 27, McDonald’s kicked off its first anime-inspired marketing campaign, an animated narrative that takes place in a fictional world named “WcDonald’s.” The campaign has already been significantly successful, at least in phrases of its excessive engagement, with the English version of the campaign’s introductory video rapidly drawing over 250,000 views. “WcDonald’s is a handiest-in-class example of how brands can make contributions to culture by finding a meaningful and credible characteristic inside culture, instead of intruding and disrupting it from the start air,” said Huiwen Tow, head of APAC strategy for the agency Virtue.
  • Anime viewership is increased than ever, in part because anime is extraordinarily accessible in 2024. The most popular anime streaming app is the Sony-owned Crunchyroll, which surpassed $1 billion in global client spending at the finish of 2023. 
  • Anime is a medium, now not a single genre, which means its audience spans across many demographic teams, particularly in Japan. In the United States, then again, anime is particularly growing in popularity among Gen Z. A January 2024 search for by Polygon revealed that 42 p.c of American Gen-Zers watch anime weekly, compared to correct 25 p.c of millennials and 12 p.c of Gen X. “In Japan, anime is enjoyed across generations, with subgenres and characters to appeal to each age,” said Yasu Sasaki, global chief creative officer of dentsu, which spun up a dedicated anime subsidiary last year. “The kind of anime express material you savor evolves with you as you develop up.”

The gaming connection

There are many parallels between the rise of anime as a marketing channel and the rise of gaming as a marketing machine. Considerable love gaming, marketers recalcitrantly considered anime as a niche interest until its popularity became unimaginable for them to ignore, at which point they began doing everything they may to reach this younger, plugged-in audience. 

There is a very natural connection between the anime and gaming audience, and brands are mercurial realizing that there is ample overlap between the 2. A brand’s marketing investment in anime can bolster its presence in gaming, and vice versa.

At the moment, many brands’ anime activations also feature some kind of gaming integration. McDonald’s’ WcDonald’s campaign, for example, went are living alongside a custom-made-branded “Fortnite” expertise.

“Whereas the communities’ respective kinds of engagement with anime and gaming range — passive for anime and active for gamers — there’s a definite affinity between the 2 communities,” Sasaki said. “There are the obtrusive commonalities, such as each being enjoyed indoor and each portraying worlds in symbolic varieties. Extra significantly, they have a cultural kinship; anime has incessantly influenced gaming, and gaming incessantly influences anime.”

A various audience

Another reason for brands to be interested in anime in 2024 is the demographic range of the anime neighborhood. Considerable love lingering misconceptions about the gaming audience, anime has lengthy been plagued by the perception that it is largely the territory of men or Asian Americans, however this is changing as marketers change into extra familiar with the space.

The media company Cxmmunity Media, whose origins lie in the gaming and esports space, has taken demonstrate of the vitality of anime to reach a various audience. To that finish, the company has invested in Trap Sushi, an anime-inspired club and tournament venue in Atlanta, with plans to make consume of the space as inventory for its partnerships with range-focused brands. 

“17 p.c of Black Americans over the age of 18 are anime fans, compared to 13 p.c of Asian Americans. As it relates to the Black neighborhood, that’s a kind of things that we over-index in,” said Cxmmunity CMO Chris Peay. 

Superstar endorsements

Anime’s moment in the spotlight is the implications of a sluggish kind in the medium’s popularity and accessibility, now not a single flashy moment that launched anime into the stratosphere. Nonetheless there’s no denying that prominent American celebrities have jumped into anime at an unprecedented stage over the past year. As luminaries such as Meghan Thee Stallion and Usher put up their cosplays on social media, it’s now not surprising that brands and marketers have been motivated to demonstrate their very have familiarity with anime. 

“I always maintain going back to anime culture, and how anime fandom is extra than correct watching,” Tacca said. “It’s this multifaceted expertise that’s also defined by the things that you wear, and the music that you listen to, and the celebrities you indulge in, and the references and subject matters and values that you have.”

Extra in Marketing

DTC brand Parachute Home goes offline, doubles experiential investment amid changed digital landscape

March 15, 2024  •  4 min read

It’s getting harder for marketers to stand out online, so assure-to-client bedding brand Parachute Home is ramping up its experiential marketing to stand out in-person.

With UTA, Michael Kassan skirmish, why finish Hollywood and Madison Avenue make for strange bedfellows?

March 15, 2024  •  7 min read

These unions are infamous for unraveling, though they typically finish so behind closed doorways. UTA and Kassan have definitely shattered that mildew.

Research Briefing: Facebook loses favor with publishers, brands and agencies

March 14, 2024  •  5 min read

In this week’s Digiday+ Research Briefing, we examine how social platforms Facebook and TikTok are faring, as Facebook eliminates its News tab and TikTok faces a potential ban in the U.S. (again), and how podcast networks are planning to make consume of AI to translate exhibits, as considered in latest data from Digiday+ Research.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like