Friday, January 9, 2015

Japan Rail (JR) x Ultraman promotion - prizes galore!

I spotted this poster at a JR station advertising an upcoming JR x Ultraman promotion. It's marked JR East, which is primarily the area around Tokyo and heading north towards the edge of Hokkaido.

The Tokyo-centered promotion will run from January 13 - February 27. The little sequential numbers on the bottom of the poster run through the details. From what I can make out (please take this as a rough outline, as I can't claim to be able to translate the guidelines perfectly), it starts with (1) buying a pamphlet, after which (2) you can go around to JR stations and collect 64 different stamps representing heroes and kaiju from four Ultraman series. Here's the full treasure map. For example, here is the kaiju associated with Nakano station:

Then (3) a total of 12 original menkos are available as giveaways. The promotion website says you get 2 menkos by collecting 10 stamps. So I'd guess you can get all 12 menkos by filling up most of the stamp book. Here are a number of them:



*Geeky side note – these are called “maru menkos,” meaning “round menkos.” Paper menkos like this have been around a long time – more than 100 years. During the Meiji and Taisho eras, they often portrayed generals, samurai, etc. During the Showa era, and especially from the 1950s on, menkos featured a much broader range of subjects, including movie stars, cartoon characters, and other pop culture icons. (The other popular menko shape, which seemed to reach a height of popularity in the 1960s, are rectangular.)*

OK, back to Ultraman. Next up (4) there are 10 different Ultraman acrylic stands available. You get one for free after spending 300 yen at one of 10 "goal stores" with a Suica card. There are 1,000 of each type. Here's one of them:
Also, if you  collect all 64 stamps, there's yet another prize available. Now getting that would be a lot of leg work!

Finally (5) there are 78 bonus prizes that are chosen by lottery. Wow, if I've got it right, the top prize is a visit by Ultra Seven to your house! That's pretty wild.

Anyway, click here to visit the promotional website.

This rabbit hole turned out to be a lot deeper than I expected. What started with a simple photograph of a poster turned into a Dantean labyrinth that overmatched the single can of Kirin I had tonight. So, well done.

Once again we learn several key lessons: (1) Ultraman is still insanely popular in Japan. (2) Major public institutions are perfectly comfortable with promotional tie-ins involving nearly 50-year-old tokusatsu heroes. (3) If you're going to do something, make it complicated enough that only the truly devoted will pour the time and effort needed to figure it out and maximize the prize winnings.

I have to say, those menkos and acrylic stands look pretty cool! But what would I serve Ultraman Seven? I wonder if he likes Kirin...

2 comments:

David Jones said...

I finished the stamp rally this weekend with my sons. If anyone is interested I can post some details.

andy b said...

Congrats! That must have been fun. Definitely post links to images. Would love to check them out.

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