In Japan, schoolgirls are often the default characters for product pitchmen. They pop up in sports drink ads, life insurance ads, bicycle ads — you name it.
One of the main reasons for this is that their youthful image is healthy, happy and spirited, but they are also able to appeal to a cross segment of Japanese society. Microsoft is hoping to tap that with its Kinect campaign in Japan.
Idols Jurina Matsui and Rena Matsui from pop group SKE48 will be appearing in television ads for Kinect.
SKE48 is the Nagoya version of idol troupe AKB48 and performs in Sunshine Sakae. The group is produced by Japanese pop impresario Yasushi Akimoto, who also produces AKB48. (Besides recording their own songs, members of SKE48 do appear on AKB48 singles like Ponytail to Shushu, etc.)
The 13-year-old Jurina and the 19-year-old Rena will also make up a special spin-off unit called, wait for it, "Kinect" and will even be performing a song called "Two Roses". The tune will be included in the upcoming SKE48 single "1, 2, 3, 4 Yoroshiku". That tune will be used in the television ads for the Xbox 360 motion control system.
This isn't Xbox Japan's first attempt to rope in idols to promote its wares. In 2006, the company roped in boy band Tokio for its Do! Do! Do! campaign. The campaign did not make much of an impact on Xbox 360 sales. Then again, Tokio is comprised of 30-something-year-old men. SKE48 is not.