Astroboy, a previously human boy converted to robot, is a well-known anime character within the country of Japan. In the introduction episode of Astroboy’s birth, Dr. Tenma creates Astroboy as a replacement for his son, Tobio, who died in a car crash. Astroboy quickly developed to be a selfless hero who prioritizes others safety over his own. Seeing the world as good, Astroboy continues to Astroboy goes on to save many people in the well-known television series across Japan.
Astroboy’s popularity among the Japanese culture serves as a catalyst for the food industry. This convergence within television and marketing is called media mix, and this is exactly the strategy that Meiji’s Marble Chocolates used while promoting Astroboy through the production of their chocolates
Astroboy as an anime character presents many advantages when promoting food items. Firstly, his reputation within Japan is positive, especially among children. His high voice, strong moral values, and heroic instinct is attractive to both children and parents. A picture of Astroboy on a food item, such as chocolate, will serve as appealing to the consumer. As said by Marc Steinberg in “Candies, Characters and Merchandising, ”the very appeal of the product and its premium increasingly hinged on the wider circulation of the character image” (54).
It is simple, if the character promoting the food item is popular, then the product it is sold on will be popular. This strategy became successful due to the fact that Astroboy served as Japan’s first huge animation series (Schodt 71).
Secondly, Astroboy’s character is timeless. The fact that his character is animated provides many marketing advantages for the food industry. An animated character provides an easy process of recognition. If someone sees his the famous face of Astroboy, he/she automatically can make the connection to the popular animated hero himself. This strategy contrasts the role of a live action version of an animated character because with human actors, the character of Astroboy becomes less constant and disorienting. For example, the actor representing Astroboy might have been involved in another major movie, which might cause some initial confusion as to which character he is representing this time in the media. With his animated version, Astroboy is represented simply as himself. With this advantage of the animated character, the strategy of placing him on chocolates serves as beneficial to the company that is producing it.
Producing stickers and other advertisement incentives promoting Meiji’s Marble Chocolates proved to be successful. The traditional image of Astroboy flying in the air with his arms raised became increasingly popular, and “the more popular Atom became, the more Atom-related merchandise could also be sold” (Schodt 74). For example, Meiji released its caramel candies that included the incentive of an Astroboy sticker or magnet inside. This presentation of the rising animated star not only became the inspiration to buy the product, but also essentially became the product. (Steinberg 63).
With such popularity in Japanese culture, Meiji’s Marble Chocolates and other Astroboy-related food items were successful in their sales. Astroboy is a likeable character who became increasingly popular in Japan. With Astroboy serving as the marketing face of these candies, the demand for these products shot up and Astroboy, once again, proceeded to save the day.