Koichiro has been working with UniQlo for the last 4 years and was originally appointed as their global digital consultant by their new Digital Communications Director. The online presence over this period has very much been the vision of two men, one of whom (not Koichiro) came from the banking sector!
Koichiro talked of the difference between forcing your audience to engage with a brand, i.e. TV or traditional print media, and getting them to choose to engage. That’s where he saw his challenge – giving users a reason to engage and then share. To create a piece of branded entertainment that had the creative integrity and intent of a film, a magazine or a piece of music.
It all started with a YouTube ad that earned 2 Million views (and counting) and blossomed with the UniClok. UniQlo and Projector work with musicians, artists, actors and choreographers all over Japan to create their content and are constantly developing new ways to boost the positive global perception of Japanese modernity and align it with that of the UniQlo brand.
You only have to look at the stats on the world map of the UniClok to see the global impact this project has had. With the next UniQlo creation the pressure was certainly to take it to the next level but Koichiro and Projector had earned the creative credit to take the time to get it right. They spent 6 months developing the next concept compared to just 4 months on the build. But, as Koichiro is keen to stress, this is just a framework – like the UniClok content will continueto be developed for the site and fed to the external widgets. For him, a project merely begins with the launch of the site.
The UniQlo Calendar was released a month ago and has had 2 billion sessions so far. Say. No. More. I could write endless paragraphs about how beautiful and clever it is but I think the biggest compliment I can pay it is that I have found it more useful than the Lonely Planet in deciding where to travel to in my second month here.
I asked Koichiro why he thought these applications resonated so powerfully with users across the world and he cites being able to harness a connection between utility and expression in a way that, like a piece of art, transcends local trends and engages universally. “We create something that is useful but that also goes beyond logic, to be hypnotic, rhythmic and mesmerising.”