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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Hondashi. The Seasoning Saga.

Winner in Graphic Art

Finalist in Images

Silver Honor in Instructional Video

Entered in Art Direction, Short Form Video


In a world where tradition meets innovation, Hondashi embarked on a visionary quest to bridge generational divides and reignite the flame of cultural appreciation. With a consumer base predominantly aging, the challenge was clear: forge a connection with the vibrant spirits of the future while honoring the rich tapestry of the past.  

Enter the realm of anime and manga, where emotions run deep. Recognizing its resonance with younger audiences, Hondashi embarked on a journey into this fertile landscape, armed with a profound understanding of its potential. Thus, the stage was set for a groundbreaking campaign that would captivate hearts and minds.  

The objectives were as bold as they were noble. Through a captivating four-episode manga series, Hondashi sought to weave a narrative that not only entertained but also educated. By delving into the depths of ancient Japanese culture, each episode served as a gateway to a bygone era, where tradition and wisdom were revered above all else. 

Yet, at its core, this campaign was about more than storytelling. It was a testament to the enduring bond between master and apprentice, a timeless tale of respect and reverence. 

Ultimately, the campaign's success lay not merely in its ability to capture imaginations but in its power to foster a newfound appreciation for Hondashi among the next generation. By marrying tradition with innovation, the brand not only secured its place in the hearts of the youth but also ensured that the flame of Japanese culture would burn bright for generations to come. 

Strategy and Execution

In response to the shifting demographic landscape and the imperative to forge a connection with younger audiences, Hondashi embarked on a transformative journey, blending tradition with innovation to capture hearts and minds anew. Leveraging the timeless allure of anime and manga, Hondashi recognized an opportunity to immerse the younger generation in the rich history of Japanese culture, while simultaneously addressing the brand's strategic imperative for rejuvenation. 

The strategy was as strategic as it was empathetic. Understanding that Hondashi's core consumers were primarily from an aging demographic, the brand identified the need to pivot towards a more youthful audience. This necessitated a radical departure from conventional marketing approaches towards a more culturally resonant and emotionally engaging medium. Enter the captivating world of anime and manga, where tradition and storytelling converge to create a powerful emotional connection. 

The execution of the project was meticulous and multi-faceted. At its heart was the creation of a four-episode manga series, meticulously crafted to resonate with younger audiences while staying true to the essence of Hondashi's cultural heritage. Each episode served as a captivating journey into ancient Japanese culture, where the timeless values of respect, wisdom, and tradition were brought to life through vivid storytelling and vibrant visuals. 

Central to the narrative was the timeless theme of the master-apprentice relationship, a cornerstone of Japanese culture that embodies the spirit of reverence for ancestral wisdom and the transmission of values from one generation to the next. Through the trials and triumphs of our young protagonist, audiences were invited to embark on a journey of self-discovery, guided by the wisdom of their predecessors. 

But the project was more than just a marketing campaign; it was a celebration of Japanese culture in all its richness and diversity. Drawing upon the cultural context of tradition, respect, community, and adaptation, Hondashi's Seasoning Saga served as a tribute to the enduring legacy of Japanese heritage, capturing the essence of what it means to be Japanese in a rapidly changing world. 

Furthermore, the project aligned seamlessly with Ajinomoto Group's commitment to sustainability, as exemplified by its ambitious Net-Zero initiative. By embracing the principles of environmental stewardship and carbon neutrality, Hondashi not only reaffirmed its commitment to the planet but also positioned itself as a socially responsible brand that stands in harmony with the values of its consumers. 

In conclusion, Hondashi's foray into the world of anime and manga represents a bold and visionary approach to marketing that transcends mere consumer engagement to become a celebration of cultural heritage and values. By harnessing the power of storytelling and visual artistry, the brand has succeeded in reigniting the flame of Japanese culture in the hearts and minds of a new generation, ensuring that Hondashi remains a beloved staple in Asian kitchens for years to come. 


The impact of Hondashi's innovative manga series campaign exceeded all expectations, achieving remarkable results that underscored its resonance with audiences. With an impressive reach of 35 million people impacted and over 6.2 million views, the campaign captivated imagination, sparking widespread engagement. 

The metrics speak for themselves: with 52.8k reactions, comments, and clicks, Hondashi's manga series ignited a wave of interest and interaction, fostering a sense of community and connection among viewers. This level of engagement not only demonstrates the effectiveness of the campaign in capturing audience attention but also speaks to its ability to elicit genuine interest and participation. 

Most importantly, the campaign delivered tangible results, with sales figures soaring to meet the targeted objectives. Achieving 100% of the sales target for the period is a testament to the campaign's effectiveness in driving real-world outcomes and delivering measurable business impact. 

In summary, Hondashi's manga series campaign stands as an example of effective marketing innovation, blending tradition with modernity to create a captivating narrative that resonated with audiences across demographics. With its impressive reach, engagement metrics, and tangible sales results, the campaign succeeded in connecting with younger generations and also reaffirmed Hondashi's position as a beloved staple in Asian kitchens nationwide. 


Video for Hondashi. The Seasoning Saga.

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Cappuccino / Weber Shandwick Collective, Hondashi / Ajinomoto


Entry Credits