Scene Report: Japan - UltraSuperNew Inc.
1. Hi Michael, could you give us a short introduction about yourself and your company?
My name is Michael Sheetal and I started UltraSuperNew Inc. with my business partner, Marc Wesseling, in January 2007. We both come from advertising backgrounds, Marc more on the sales side, and I have more experience on the technical side and running production teams in web, mobile, animation and video/tv.
UltraSuperNew Inc. is an interactive creative agency specialising in using the power of consumer generated media, social networks, and guerrilla advertising. We have high level creative and technical skills in house to service our clients in building and/or integrating social media into their brand and also to help them establish an identity in the new media landscape.
2. Now what is your Tokyo story? Why this country? And why this city?
I moved to Tokyo in 2002 after working on some TV commercials for Japan from Australia and being fascinated by Japanese culture and technology for some time. I initially worked for a music television show based in Tokyo, then moved on to advertising where I helped build an interactive division for a mid-sized agency here before finally establishing UltraSuperNew Inc.
Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities for technology in the world. It offers a unique market and vibrant advertising culture where the infrastructure is already in place with the high bandwidth data services to both homes and to mobile phones to make amazing content and unique projects.
3. What experiences can you share with us and our readers concerning the differences in Japanese internet user behaviour and European or U.S. American users?
One of the first lessons I learned working in the Japanese market was that the Japanese audience sees things in a very different way to the western world. The attitude to advertising is much less sceptical towards advertising than the western world but trust is much more important for being able to interact with people.
It is very important to have strong local ties. An important part of doing business in Japan is the customer and vendor relationships. Without strong relationships it is very hard to get things done. That is something that just comes with time and something 6 years in the market already has put me in a good position for.
4. What other tips and tricks can you share with foreign Interactive Media companies that are planning on entering the Japanese market?
Don't underestimate the difference between the Japanese market and the rest of the world. Don't forget mobile, Japan is one of the most advanced mobile markets in the world (along with Korea) and with flat-rate data plans, people are not afraid to download movies, games, music and other content in high volume.
5. What can we expect from UltraSuperNew in 2008?
The expansion of our successful UltrasuperTUBE event is one of our fun activities for the year. The site combines social media from Youtube and other video sharing sites with a party. The last event had 400 people packing the event space wall to wall and another 2500 people watching the live stream online.
The next project to launch will be Press Army, an online platform to help promote and share information about online projects and brands.
After that we have a large growth planned in our client services based around handling our client's marketing and promotion activities and integrating and building systems for social media.