September 14, 2023

A Case Study on AR Advertising and Branding in Japan

Nestled amidst the captivating blend of tradition and innovation in the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, a revolution in advertising and branding quietly reshapes consumer experiences. Augmented Reality (AR), with its ability to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual worlds, has garnered significant attention from marketers seeking novel ways to engage their audiences.

Before moving on to the case study, it’s essential that we take a look at what exactly is AR or Augmented Reality. Here are some examples of AR to help you get your thinking cap on - the phenomenon called Pokèmon Go. The game is a stellar example of Augmented Reality accessible to the masses. 

A crisp definition of AR would be ‘immersive technology that overlays digital information - such as audio, video, and text - onto the real world and objects. 

In our latest exploration, we venture into the heart of Japan's vibrant marketing landscape to unravel the compelling story of AR advertising and branding. Join us as we traverse through the intricate layers of this tech-savvy nation and discover how AR is rewriting the rules of advertising, captivating audiences, and redefining brand interactions in the Land of Sakura. This article discusses some case studies on "AR advertising and branding campaigns in Japan."

Why AR Advertising or Branding?

The stellar visual symphony provided by AR that takes experiences ‘beyond screens’ is an engaging medium for the flow and communication and information. This technological prowess can give a significant boost to advertising industries across the globe. 

Augmented Reality (AR) has revolutionized the advertising and branding landscape recently, offering immersive and interactive experiences that capture consumers' attention like never before. Japan, a nation known for its technological innovation and love for cutting-edge trends, has been at the forefront of AR advertising campaigns. In this case study, we will explore some fascinating examples of AR advertising and branding initiatives that have left a significant impact on the Japanese market.

So, when it comes to AR, brands can be confident about using AR technology for their advertising and branding campaigns.

Case Study 1: Pokémon GO - Niantic and The Pokémon Company

One of the most iconic examples of AR advertising success in Japan is Pokémon GO, developed by Niantic in collaboration with The Pokémon Company. Launched in July 2016, this mobile game combined the virtual world of Pokémon with the real-world environment through augmented reality. Players used their smartphones to explore the streets of Japan, catching virtual Pokémon superimposed onto their surroundings.

This innovative approach not only engaged users but also led to increased foot traffic at sponsored locations. Businesses and restaurants collaborated with Pokémon GO to become PokéStops and Gyms, attracting customers and driving sales. The game's success demonstrated the potential of AR advertising in promoting both brands and local businesses.

Case Study 2: Shiseido's Virtual Makeup Try-On

Shiseido, a renowned cosmetics company, embraced AR to enhance the beauty shopping experience in Japan. Their AR-powered "Virtual Makeup Try-On" allowed customers to apply makeup products through their smartphones virtually. Users could see how different products would look on their skin before purchasing.

This AR campaign not only increased customer engagement but also reduced the need for physical product testing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shiseido's innovation in AR not only modernized its brand but also addressed evolving consumer needs for safe and convenient shopping experiences.

Case Study 3: Uniqlo's AR Magic Mirrors

Uniqlo, a popular Japanese fashion brand, introduced AR "Magic Mirrors" in select stores. These mirrors allowed shoppers to see how different outfits would look on them without trying them on physically. Shoppers could simply stand in front of the mirror, select clothing items on a touchscreen, and see an AR reflection of themselves wearing the chosen outfit.

This AR innovation improved the in-store shopping experience by providing convenience and entertainment. It also encouraged shoppers to try out more styles and make informed fashion choices, solidifying Uniqlo's brand reputation for trendy and tech-savvy fashion.


These case studies highlight how AR advertising and branding have become integral to the marketing strategies of companies in Japan. The blend of creativity, technology, and cultural relevance has enabled brands to connect with consumers deeper, driving engagement, sales, and brand loyalty.

As the world embraces AR technology, Japan remains a fertile ground for AR advertising, with companies pushing boundaries to create unforgettable experiences. These examples underscore the importance of staying ahead of the curve in the digital age and utilizing AR as a powerful tool for captivating and retaining consumers in the Japanese market.