Tokyo, Japan (August 18, 2017) – A campaign jointly undertaken by Dentsu Inc. and PR Consulting Dentsu Inc. has earned top honors in two categories at the International Public Relations Association Golden World Awards for Excellence 2017 (IPRA GWA 2017).

Entered under the title Fur Out! Canine Idols Woo(f) Tourists to Akita, the successful campaign was conducted for cooperative regional Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Akita Inu Tourism (“Akita Dog Tourism”), to promote travel to the northern part of Akita Prefecture through a video featuring a fictional Akita dog pop group named Mofu Mofu Dogs. The campaign earned recognition in both the Public Sector and Travel & Tourism categories.

The 27th installment of the GWA since the event began in 1990, this year’s awards welcomed over 400 entries. The 61 accolades on offer included recognition for agency and in-house campaigns, judged separately in 30 categories by an expert 20-member panel. There was also the Special United Nations Award for PR, presented to the campaign that best addresses one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The recipient of the overall Grand Prix, chosen from among the category winners, will be announced on October 13, as part of the 2017 IPRA GWA Gala, to be held in Sofia, Bulgaria.

canine idol performance in Akita

Award-Winning Entries, Overview
Campaign Title: Fur Out! Canine Idols Woo(f) Tourists to Akita
Client: Akita Inu Tourism
Agencies: Dentsu Inc., PR Consulting Dentsu Inc.
Award Categories: Public Sector (Agency); Travel & Tourism (Agency)

Fur Out! Canine Idols Woo(f) Tourists to Akita
The northern part of Japan’s Akita Prefecture boasts rich nature and a variety of sightseeing attractions that span all four seasons. However, due to its distance from major urban centers, and the lack of a local airport or easy access via public transportation, recent years have seen the area struggle to capitalize on increasing international tourism to Japan. In April 2016, the local municipalities of Odate, Kitaakita, Kosaka and Kamikoani formed Akita Inu Tourism (“Akita Dog Tourism”), a cooperative regional DMO conceived to address this challenge by tempting visitors away from more established tourist hotspots like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara.

However, though the global popularity of the Akita dog breed has brought the name “Akita” a degree of recognition around the world, these cuddly canines’ region of origin is not widely known outside Japan. Akita Inu Tourism decided to launch a PR campaign targeting Taiwanese tourists—a market segment among which repeat visits to Japan are especially common—through the creation of a quirky online music video leveraging the popularity in Taiwan of both Akita dogs and Japanese “idol” pop groups. Taiwan-based PR activities were conducted in partnership with a local pilot group, and the resulting campaign, launched via YouTube and a specially designed trilingual website, brought an increase in tourism to northern Akita, from Taiwan and elsewhere.

Online music video
Waiting 4U
Further information:

IPRA Golden World Awards for Excellence
The Golden World Awards for Excellence, hosted by the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) and judged by an international panel comprising PR experts from around the world, promise global recognition and acclaim to the year’s best public relations campaigns and projects. Awards are given in 30 categories covering different aspects of the PR industry, including Business-to-Business, Healthcare, NGO Campaigns, Consumer PR for existing products and services, Corporate Communications, Public Affairs, Event Management, and Sponsorship, with separate prizes awarded in each field for the best agency and in-house campaigns.

The GWA competition is also supported by the United Nations, with the UN Award presented to the PR project that most closely follows the aims and ideals of the organization. The Grand Prix is awarded to one campaign out of all the category winners, with the winner announced each autumn at the IPRA Golden World Awards Gala.

PR Consulting Dentsu Inc.

Since its founding in 1961, PR Consulting Dentsu has served as strategic partner to a diverse range of companies, governmental bodies and other organizations. Over 270 employees provide clients with comprehensive reputation management solutions, enhancing their ability to communicate with the wider society through approaches including data analysis, insight-driven content design, and optimization of information distribution. PR Consulting Dentsu was recognized by the Holmes Report in both 2009 and 2015 as Japan Consultancy of the Year,

Kyoko Fujii, Natsuki Mase
PR Consulting Dentsu Inc.
Hamarikyu Mitsui Bldg., 5-6-4 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0045 Japan
Tel: 03-5565-2740 Fax: 03-5565-8658