“Loooong, Looooong, Maaaa-aaaa-aaa-aaaaaaaan!”
As a marketer, I probably shouldn’t admit this. But here it goes:
I think that most Western adverts are extremely boring.
There. I’ve said it. I am not a fan. And I think the reason is, is that all the adverts on British tele seem to follow the same mould. They either show a bunch of people talking about how nice a product is (boooring), or try to dress a product or brand up as something it isn’t. Like masquerading a fast food chain as a cute cafe for grannies to hang out in, or a wedding party to have breakfast in before heading to the church (*cough cough*, McDonald’s. What were you thinking!?).
This is not the case for Japanese adverts, however.
While adverts in the UK are better known as back-to-back yawn fests (in my opinion), Japanese adverts are not cut from the same cloth. They’re creative, interesting, and more often than not, have an epic story or metaphor at their heart.
This is certainly the case for Long Long Man – a Japanese advert campaign for the brand Sakeru Gummy.
This is not some incredibly niche thing that I stumbled across on the internet, after hours of browsing YouTube videos at 3AM in the morning. In fact, it seems as though I’m a little late to the curve. Back in 2018, The Verge described it as “the greatest romance ever told” (they went on to specify “by a Japanese commercial”, but still). It was also written about on the art-focused publication It’s Nice That and pop culture website Nerdist. That being said, it’s not received the major coverage on this side of the pond that a marketing campaign with such ingenuity deserves.
This needs to change… so I’m sharing the story of Long Long Man.
More people need to know about Long Long Man. In fact, I think that marketing companies need to take a leaf out of Sakeru Gummy’s campaign book. Because this story really is so unique, I’m confident that I’ll never forget it.
For those of you who aren’t wise, Long Long Man is a series of eleven commercials following a woman called Chi-chan, her boyfriend Tooru-san, and, of course, Long Long Man. Chi-chan and Tooru-san are dating, but Tooru-san has one major flaw: he only ever has regular-sized Sakeru Gummy candy, and Chi-chan really likes “long things” (make of that what you will). Therefore, it’s no surprise that when she spots Long Long Man while she and Tooru-san are on a date – a tuxedoed, dashing fellow with a stick of Sakeru Gummy that’s extraordinarily long (…. again, make of that what you will) – she’s totally drawn to him.
“You like long things, don’t you Chi-chan?”
Does that premise sound a little weird? Well, it gets weirder. I don’t think I should give away the ending (you should really go and watch it yourself), but in one particularly gripping episode, Tooru-san sends a box of mango Sakeru Gummy to Chi-chan, which is delivered by none other than Long Long Man himself. Over the next few instalments, Chi-chan asks him if he has a moment, and then asks if she can touch his extremely long stick of gum (… no comment). Tooru-san then comes over and finds the long stick of gum in her bed, immediately imagining that Long Long Man spent the night. Tooru-san, in hysterics, tries to lengthen his regular-sized Sakeru Gummy by stretching it, causing Chi-chan to faint and reveal she has a terminal illness.
This is only about six episodes in – and as I mentioned, there are eleven whole instalments. So, yes. It gets even stranger.
But it’s this eccentricity that makes Long Long Man so effective.
The Long Long Man saga is not just an advert for Sakeru Gummy. It’s almost like a TV show in itself. A drama with a strong story full of plot twists, interesting characters and themes of comedy, romance, drama, tragedy and more. It’s an advert that people would have delighted in watching, and, in fact, probably sought out to discover what was happening next in the series – making them actively look for future episodes. After all, who wouldn’t want to find out how the story of Chi-chan, Tooru-san and Long Long Man ends? (Let me tell you – the finale doesn’t disappoint.)
After watching the whole series (several times, might I add), I’m positive that marketers need to take note of Sakeru Gummy’s ingenious campaign. Because Long Long Man, along with everything else, is an exceptional example of memorable content. True, it’s not the kind of content you could pull off for every brand. But it’s unarguably unique, uses storytelling as its main draw, and makes the product its trying to promote, Sakeru Gummy, the central object in a dramatic tale that you’d be hard pressed to forget. A solid 10/10.
Check out more of our thoughts from The Jam Jar over on our blog!