The title of my book, this is a mindset that I put great stock in. It means advertising that moves users through its usefulness—what I call “as-a-service advertising”—not advertising that pushes a message with expression. This frame of mind was a natural premise at work in such works as Digital Lullaby, a science-based baby soothing video created for a candy targeting moms, and Rice-Code, a revolutionary system that made a live market out of rice paddies.
In today’s media environment, users will not come into contact with anything that holds no value for them. It is this usefulness to the user that I value. If something is helpful, users will actively seek it out, and even happily share it with their friends. It will spread because of its usefulness. This is also the reason that works like Digital Lullaby spread and become essential to their target users.
Whether to utilize as-a-service advertising or not is, of course, up to the user. All decision-making power resides with them. We have no say in it at all. So the challenge that we creators face is: can we create something that is truly useful to users? Seeing this challenge as a natural one and tackling it head on is, I believe, what Hakuhodo’s people-centered sei-katsu-sha insight philosophy is all about. In my view, creating, knowing that people (sei-katsu-sha) will pass judgment on what we create, is exactly what sei-katsu-sha insight calls for.