On January 22nd, I had the privilege to host an online event with The Blink Community in Tokyo. It was a fun talk and I was truly honored to be a part of it. Feel free to view the video above. If you’re short on time, you can download my extensive lecture notes or just read the summary below. Thanks!


Three Main Points

  1. 2020 was just the beginning of massive global disruption. Through anecdotes and conversation, we explored the places where art and advertising collide, stray observations on doing business in the United States, and why modern art tends to be misunderstood.
  2. Also, an extensive intermingling of cultural ideas puts members of both Japanese and American cultures within a shared special club that can change the course of both societies for the better. In a world becoming more unstable and populist, we need friends we can rely on.
  3. Finally, America is craving stability and a sense of togetherness. As these two qualities are seemingly embedded into Japanese culture, Americans are taking notice. We need this. Right now, we need Japan more than Japan needs the USA. (Of course, some recent comments by a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee demonstrate a need for Japan to increase awareness of equality, something Americans are trying to accomplish, although not nearly perfected as of 2021.) Regardless, we can learn from one another.

The 5 Rules of Advertising

  • RULE 1 – The look comes first. Without a solid brand, a compelling visual representation and a great website, it makes the process a lot harder. The BEST graphic design utilizes the concept of analogy. The visuals perform as an analogy to the entire user experience with the brand. It connects emotionally.
  • RULE 2 – It’s easy to mistakenly use the wrong marketing tools/collateral for the wrong purposes.
  • RULE 3 – What goes viral? The content has to excel in one of four ways… insightful, hilarious, inspirational or controversial.
  • RULE 4 – Time isn’t money…. It is FAR more important than money. Manage your time wisely.
  • RULE 5 – As of this time in human history, data collection cannot solve every problem… yet. Why? Too much content, not enough context.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Great art, creativity and inspiration gets you ahead of the curve. At least, the odds are better because trust is more easily obtained.

Two Quick Notes on Modern Art & Aesthetics

  • The Problem with Modern Art – Shock art get media attention more than insightful art with true craftsmanship… and it drives artists crazy.
  • In order to find great art, you need a book or a website that curates content. A simple Google search won’t cut it.

Spotting Trends – Let’s Look at Counterculture – Turbulent Times Ahead in the 2020s

  • With the recent turmoil in America, we will look to other cultures for solace.
  • In the near future, look for organic elements in art & design, handwritten, organic textures. It has to feel real, textural and credible.
  • In America, the new generation will follow counterculture trends, it’s roughly a thirty year cycle… 1960’s, 1990’s, 2020’s.
  • Anime is currently a driving force in American counterculture.

Where Japanese Culture Can Breakthrough

  • Look at Archipel’s wonderful Documentary Ebb and Flow: The resurgence of Japanese Games. Japanese game companies found success creating mid-level games (not huge blockbusters games nor tiny scale indie games.)
  • Games like Persona 5, Nier Automata and Gravity Rush 2 (Gravity Daze 2) found success within this middle space.
  • With the rise of Kpop and Kdrama, Jpop and Jdrama can easily be next. Consultants in Western culture can help find success overseas.
  • Video game movies will overtake superhero films in the 2020s, and there are lots and lots of existing JRPG (and anime) franchises to draw from.