As ludicrous as this sounds, it’s true—to an extent.
The Foreign Ministry of Japan has done the unorthodox and indeed hired a hit-man in the best interests of Japan—but what could force such a strong-handed response?
And, considering I’m writing about it, what does it have to do with marketing?
You’ll have to read on to find out, as this example shows how picking your target and being precise—just like an assassin—can be the difference between success and failure.
Now, back to the story…
This well-known assassin, commissioned to protect Japanese business people during their overseas trips, has been recruited in light of the dropping security standards of smaller Japanese businesses.
And after the hostage crisis in Bangladesh, where seven Japanese nationals were killed last July, you can understand why the Foreign Ministry has decided to act…
The name of this newly government appointed contract killer?
Duke Togo—also known as ‘Golgo 13’ throughout Japan.
This guy made his nationwide debut in 1968, and, Golgo, as I’ll refer to him, has a pretty infamous reputation within Japan to say the least…
So, what is he doing working for the Foreign Ministry?
Obviously nothing as overt as killing people—that’s a given.
Surprisingly enough, he’s advising…
And on the recommendation and commission of this guy.
This is Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Foreign Minister.
Fumio Kishida, in my books, is a genius for pulling this one off.
Now, I know, some of you are thinking who would actually listen to a contract killer?
Well, it’s actually a topic of study that someone in his line of work is perfectly suited to advise on.
Plus, with his reputation within Japan, he’s a man that ‘gets things done’…
So, Golgo has been appointed as a special advisor to provide safety advice and guidance for small- to medium-sized Japanese business…
To stop them from getting into situations that could spell danger…
Such as the one in Bangladesh last year.
So, it kind of makes sense to hire a guy that knows all the ins and outs to advise your countries horde of travelling salarymen on how to stay safe.
Plus, you’re probably going to listen to a guy like this.
If he says it’s dangerous and you shouldn’t do it, who are you to ignore it?
Now, I’ll just repeat this quickly to make sure we’re all following.
Duke Togo aka Golgo 13 has been recruited to be a special advisor to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
Under the recommendation of Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
An infamous assassin… working for the government… in the open…
You can’t make this stuff up, people!
Now, this is where it gets even more interesting—or less depending on your point of view.
The real man behind Golgo, and why Foreign Minister Kishida is going this unorthodox route to make sure some real change happens, is this guy.
This is Takao Saito, a well-known and beloved public figure within Japan.
He also happens to be a manga writer and illustrator—manga is a Japanese comic book, if you were unaware.
Golgo 13, is Takao Saito’s oldest and most widely published creation.
Over 13 issues, with the final being released on the 13th of June, the Japanese Foreign Ministry has chosen the perfect medium to spread their message.
Utilizing the brand that is Golgo 13 and having the creator, Takao Saito, personally promote the new manga series is genius.
The government could’ve gone the usual route—created pamphlets and made a new website—all of which no one would look at.
But goodness, it ticks the bureaucratic boxes, so they’d be in the clear!
What absolute crap.
Instead, we’ve had some actual thinking taking place.
Thought behind what would be read, seen, talked about.
“We decided to seek the help of Duke Togo to raise safety awareness among Japanese companies,” said Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida.
That’s not a sentence you hear every day.
The equivalent for me may as well be, “We decided to seek the help of Skippy the Bush Kangaroo to raise safety awareness among Australian farmers,” said Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Except that wouldn’t work in Australia.
You see, manga in Japan is more than a phenomenon.
It’s a cultural pastime, and one that the government has been wise to tap into to deliver this very real, and very serious message.
It’s packaging this message into a format that people will go out of their way to read.
Takao Saito should be wetting his pants with excitement after having a Japanese government representative talk about his work by name.
With 100,000 copies being distributed for free around the country, Takao Saito should be doubly pleased—free large-scale publicity of his work and a nice government contract to boot.
Not only does Saito and his work get a massive PR boost, it also cements Golgo 13 as a real badass in the annals of history.
The character was ‘hired’ by the Japanese government to ‘protect’ their business people while overseas.
Again, you can’t make this stuff up!
“I will be happy if the manual gives an opportunity to carefully think (about security),” Saito said in a recent meeting with the Foreign Minister.
You don’t say.
Now, having read all that, what can you do to ensure your message is delivered via the right medium?
Do you have some smart ways of ensuring your product or service is well-known?
Or that your message is delivered in the most effective way?
Because, sure, you’re technically delivering a birthday cake if you mail over some packet mix and an egg… but I think an actual cake would be a better choice.
If you can’t think of effective ways to deliver your marketing, why not get in touch.
Click here to get in contact—I may have something up my sleeve to help.
Creative Director and Copywriter
JC Steadman Marketing
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I create marketing campaigns for clients around the world. No B.S. and to the point - I'll tell you how it is. I'm a copywriter and creative director at heart, but most would recognise me as a full-stack print and digital marketing expert. Want to work together? Click here.