The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Johnny Pawlik

As an industry, marketing is huge in the west and is the foundation for which popular culture and products are built on. I’ve always been curious how it’s perceived in Japan and it was great to have all my questions answered by Johnny Pawlik.

Co-founder of Mantra Media, Pawlik have worked on many international marketing campaigns centred on Japan and infuses Japanese philosophy into his view of marketing. 

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Pop Culture and Japan

Crossovers And Collaborations: Rebranding Sake For A Western Audience

When it comes to selling sake in the West, there’s a lot of debate about how best to present it to an audience who’re unfamiliar with it. From my own personal experience, I initially found it hard to categorise what sake is. The kanji symbols were intimidating, the brewing process was a mystery and the comparisons to wine left me feeling really confused!

To help make sake easier to understand, certain businesses have taken to working with breweries in Japan to rebrand their drinks and make them more accessible to a western audience. This phenomenon has become known as ‘white-labelled’ sake, in which a business will purchase the sake from a brewery and change it in some way. 

What’s important to consider is the method in which this is carried out. Transparent brands will clearly indicate who the producer is, while others may not be so forthcoming. It’s a tricky landscape to navigate. 

Let’s take a look at a few of the brands who’re repurposing nihonshu and putting the breweries they work with at the heart of the conversation. 

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