Manabu Yamazaki digs deep into the humorous take with 'Big Smile with Canon' campaign

Sneha Medda
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Manabu Yamazaki Canon

During and after the pandemic, the audience has largely shown their interest in videography & photography. Leveraging this surge, Canon took a fun approach to reach the TG. Manabu Yamazaki, President & CEO, Canon India, explains how.

The pandemic saw a big shift in consumer behaviour across different aspects of the market. And the same shift was seen in the video and photography industry as well. With the increase in influencers and the digital space, the want for cameras and other equipment has seen a sudden surge; especially among the Gen-Z and millennial generation. 

Manabu Yamazaki, President & CEO, Canon India says, “I strongly believe that the young generation is extremely informed and poses a strong influence on many other customer groups.” 

He further explained this audience’s behaviour by stating that they like to associate with brands that are innovative and evolve with time, and most importantly, have a purpose, both with their product offerings and marketing campaigns. They are transforming consumer marketing itself; hence it has become imperative for brands to create clutter-breaking marketing strategies that can strike the right chord with them through engaging formats.

Canon recently dabbled into this category of audience. And to reach them better, the brand took a humorous route with the ‘Big Smile with Canon’ campaign. Talking about the campaign and the objective that the brand aimed at, Manabu said, “With ‘Big Smile with Canon’ campaign, our objective was to adopt the most innovative and unique approach to engage and strike a chord with our millennial customers.” 

He further explained how this new campaign allowed the brand to re-introduce itself as a young and vibrant brand to the millennials that is constantly not only launching products in line with industry trends but also campaigns that are relevant and, most importantly, relatable. 

Giving details on the campaign, Manabu added that the brand not only connected with the audience but with the growing popularity of comedy, they also tried to connect with their employees with a 360-degree approach in place.

He further stated, “Considering employees have started coming to work post-pandemic, we ensured that we create a fun-filled positive work atmosphere through unique employee engagement activities. Further, with our adopted villages being an extended family to Canon, we also extended this campaign to our communities by bringing big smiles to them through various CSR initiatives.”

Canon’s Marketing look-book:

As today’s audience is mostly focused on the content and usually ignores any kind of ads, Canon has taken a different route to reach them. The brand has started a concept called the Canon EOS Ambassador Program – which is divided into three categories; EOS Ambassador, EOS Maestro, and EOS influencer. 

The Canon EOS Ambassador Program represents and supports current and future generations of photographers and filmmakers. With this concept, the brand aims at revealing secrets of professional shooting to photography enthusiasts on how experts apply different professional equipment for different scenarios, as well as the creative inspirations behind these works. 

With over 40 expert photographers in each category that vary in different genres across the board, the brand’s social media handles to showcase their work. These photographs, which are captured by the brand’s EOS Camera line, include genres like food, landscape, wildlife, editorial, and more. Apart from showcasing the work, the behind-the-scenes and the spec of the work are also uploaded for the audience. 

Similarly, with ‘Big Smiles’, the brand put much of its focus on digital marketing. Explaining the details, Manabu pointed out that with the growing reach of digital media, Gen-Z and millennials are constantly consuming content from a vast set of resources. Therefore, it is imperative to undertake initiatives that can go a long way in building a strong connection with this set of audiences to generate maximum recall. 

He added saying, “With this campaign, we wanted to reiterate Canon’s 25-year-old legacy of delighting its customers and spreading smiles through a unique and trendy approach. Further, strengthen our image as a brand that understands the pulse of Gen Z and helps them conquer their world of creativity, passion, and zeal, by constantly introducing campaigns and innovative lineup of products specially curated for them.”

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The Comedy Link:

The brand harnessed the power of comedy and stand-up in the way of reaching out to the audience. To do this, the brand roped in stand-up comedian Anshu Mor and created five short episodes to promote the brand’s corporate culture and re-invent its brand image by building an intentional connection with the millennial audience.

Talking about this collaboration, Manabu explained how in today’s day and age, the average attention span of a social media savvy audience is less than a minute; it has become extremely important to create campaigns that appeal to them and position the brand beyond its products. Hence, the brand decided to leverage its corporate culture and values of delighting customers, passion, creativity, and work-life balance, thereby building a strong resonance for the brand.

Adding to this, he said, “Through these five short episode series of ‘Big Smile with Canon,’ I also wanted to share my experience of exploring India, along with understanding more country-specific nuances, but in a fun and engaging manner.”

Anshu’s Comedic Touch:

The last few years have seen the rise of stand-up comedians as artists, online content creators, and influencers that not only attract the millennials but also draw a large chunk of audience across age groups. With Anshu Mor enjoying a massive following with content that resonates with Gen Z and the millennials, it helped the brand to reach the correct audience. 

According to Manabu, as the brand had leveraged social media as its preferred channel of distribution, the campaign witnessed massive engagement and registered a huge success by reaching out to more than 48 million users across various social media platforms. Moreover, the hashtag further trended #BigSmilewithCanon on Twitter for the first four hours of its launch, with many appreciating the concept of the campaign.

Canon – The Household Name:

In the Indian market Canon as a brand needs no introduction. With a veteran card in the industry, the brand has made a name for itself. Speaking about how the brand does that in today’s digital day and age, Manabu states that with a diverse set of customer groups for our business, the brand follows an omnichannel marketing strategy by being present on all those platforms where consumers are. Hence, along with a wide reach through the brand’s retail expansion across the country, they also have a rigorous online marketing strategy. 

He adds, “The last two years have made social media more relevant than ever, hence an ideal platform to connect with consumers. It is imperative for all brands to tap all digital platforms in order to remain relevant.”

In concluding the conversation, Manabu talks about some marketing trends he has seen in the photography and camera industry in India of late. He explains how post-pandemic, experiential marketing has become a trend, especially to that tech-savvy crowd, who tune out most forms of traditional marketing using ad blockers while using search engines and share news via social media, ignoring even the most brightly coloured outdoor billboards. 

Following this trend, Canon recently organized a one of its kind immersive event titled #FindYourStory for content creators powered by the latest vlogging heartthrob, the Canon EOS R10. Manabu further stated that the event series was kickstarted at the Museo Camera Centre for Photographic Arts in Gurugram and will be mirrored across cities.

Canon Stand up comedy Manabu Yamazaki big smile with canon Anshu Mor videography Photography