Olympics Marketing, Tokyo-style!

When it was first announced that Tokyo would host the Olympics in 2020, we couldn’t contain our excitement. After all, anyone interested in design and communications must surely love Japan’s unparalleled way of ramping up awareness and engagement!

Whilst there’s always tons of hype surrounding the Olympics, Tokyo has really gone all-out with its branding by creating two amazing mascots, Miraitowa and Someity. These quirky characters incorporate the celebrated Japanese anime style, with the trademark characteristics of being cute, cool, dynamic and memorable all at the same time.  

Miraitowa wears the same indigo blue ichimatsu-patterns as the Tokyo 2020 Games Emblem on his head and body, acting as the mascot of the main games. His personality is derived from a traditional Japanese proverb that means to learn old things well and to acquire new knowledge from them. According to his profile on the official website, Miraitowa, whose name is made up of the words “Mirai” (future) and “towa” (eternity), combines old-fashioned aspects that respect tradition alongside dynamic qualities reflecting modern methods of sharing information. Athletic and full of energy, his special power is the ability to move anywhere in an instant.

Meanwhile, Someity (whose name mixes “someiyoshino”, a popular cherry blossom variety, and the phrase “so mighty”) is the mascot for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She’s kitted out in cherry blossom shades and is able to send and receive telepathic messages using the antennae on the sides of her head, as well as move objects using her mind, speak to the wind and stones, and fly high above the stadium. Someity represents the superhuman power of Paralympic athletes, who overcome obstacles and redefine the boundaries of possibility.

The team behind Tokyo 2020 have really gone to town with these mascots. Rather than simply designing some adorable characters and leaving it at that, they’ve invested time, focus and creativity into building an entire universe around them. For instance, Instagram accounts have been launched for both Miraitowa and Someity, which share their adventures as they meet athletes, businesses and the public and invite them to be part of the action.

They also star in animated YouTube videos that show them preparing for all of the games, with Miraitowa taking part in everything from weightlifting to tennis, and Someity racing in a Paralympic wheelchair and playing blind football. These brilliant visual stories include all of the elements you’d expect from an anime film, including beautiful cityscapes, iconic buildings, bullet trains, a clear link to nature, and stirring soundtracks that really get you pumped up for Tokyo 2020!

As if this doesn’t already bring all of the games to life, the Tokyo 2020 marketing team have also created 72 sports poses for the individual games, which include Miraitowa enjoying archery, canoe slalom and taekwondo, and Someity excelling at judo, table tennis and wheelchair rugby. Olympics enthusiasts can download these amazing images and use them on their social media channels, and if you’re a hardcore fan you could even update your profiles on a regular basis according to which game you’re watching at the time. And of course, there’s a huge range of mascot merch available, ranging from keyrings and pin badges, to a selection of branded home and kitchen items for upgrading your crib in true Tokyo 2020 style.  

All in all, Tokyo has done an incredible job of putting its unique signature on the 2020 Olympics and we can’t wait for them to begin on Friday 24th July.