Monday, August 30, 2010

AKB48 Pulls Prank

For half my private life I have been involved in music as a career and this is by far one of the best marketing prank /gimmick/promotion that has come out of this industry in sometime.

For many hours yesterday, the news of AKB48 Sashihara Rino changing her name, took everyone by surprise both privately and publicly, leaving many wanting to know more about the move. In public AKB48, fans were shocked and a huge media and fan buzz was underway and out of control in hours.

However, it was a "prank" played by AKB48 staff, Rino, and her agency.

Everything in a few hours about Sashihara was changed to Sashiko, media profiles, her profiles at the theatre, media releases,television ads were shot , a lot of time and money was invested in this "prank".

According to a statement released by AKB48 staff, the prank started out like this.

From AKB48 Theatre Manager Togasaki-san

There have been many inquiries about Sashihara Rino being renamed to Sashiko. Here is my report. Sashiko was hotly used on Sashihara's blog as her nickname. Then staff asked, "what if it was your stage name", Sashi jokingly replied, "If that happens, will it sell?" And so a joke a commercial was organized by the staff and me. As you guys are concerned, it is not official renaming. The home page where her name was changed to Sashiko was a joke, I guess, though Sashihara herself became confused. Please comment on Sashihara’s blogs.

If you take her blog postings at face value [I warn you that idols are paid to stay in character in public at all times and blogs are heavily monitored by their agencies], she is just as confused and overwhelmed by this as her fans.

This was not a cheap joke a national television commercial was shot and aired for many hours yesterday ,media at all levels jumped on the story and in one day interest in Sashihara and AKB48 increased 3xs it`s normal daily levels. Everything about her was changed to match the television campaign making the move look real.

This was a prank, but much more, it was a well-planned marketing event, and timed to be released on a network airing one of the most viewed events of the year. This was not a random; let us pull a good joke on everyone. This was a  marketing event to take advantage of AKB48`s air time on 24Hr TV, to increase the popularity of their talent and to make AKB48 and one if it`s members the talk of the nation for a day.

Was this a way to push down the media interest in the AKB48 x Morning Musume stage event or Morning Musume`s endorsement announcement? , maybe a little, but mostly this was a public relations, marketing plan to push the benefits and popularity of AKB48 to a new level.

Hats off to AKB48 staff, this was a perfect media campaign.


Rino`s related blog posts

You guys must have been surprised...right?, Sashiko was surprised, too...
Well, I, Sashihara Rino, have changed my name to “Sashiko”! Bam~ Bam~ Bam~

Man, what’s so surprising is that they did a commercial for 24 Hour TV. They talked about a beautiful girl who was only filmed in the PV for 2.5 seconds, and in that one commercial, they showed those 2.5 seconds three times!!!
Which means?
I was on screen for 7.5 secoooooonds!!! BAM.

That’s awesome...That’s just awesome. Seriously! I mean, “Beautiful girl...” You could almost sue them for false advertising...

In any case, I want to hear your honest opinion. What do you think?

Hold on sec, guys! It’s not like I’m gonna become a performer or anything. XD What’s with the idea that a performer = a stage name?

Well, frankly, it still didn’t feel real to me at the time, so I was surprised when I saw the commercial...I didn’t think it’d blow up into something like this... that I think about it, I was really happy watching the commercial, but Sashiko......Sashiko... \ (^O^)/

And what about the name Rino that my parents gave me...? Wh-wh-what will become of it...? That would mean I would be just Sashiko from now on, right? Even during senbatsu elections and other serious times...
What’s with this development...?


  1. This is so awesome. I totally fell for this, I completely believed that she was going to change her name. Although somewhere in the back of my mind, I was questioning the whole name changing thing. It would have been slightly more believable (not that I doubted it anyway XD) if she had changed her first name and not her family name. I think family is kind of a big thing for Asian people, so you wouldn't just go and change it.

    Anyway, this feels kind of like a long post, so sorry. When I first read this, I was shocked and a little sadden because I really love her name (I don't know why lol). Now that it has been revealed to be a prank, I feel somewhat relieved. Well, regardless of all that I would have still continued to support Sashihara.

    One last thing I want to talk about is the commercials they had. I love how they circled Sashihara and repeated Sashiko like a gazillion times. I especially love the 'bishoujo' part. =D

  2. Welcome Toshi,
    Long comment posts are ok. I was surprised by it two. Sashi has been getting popular recently, this is going to help her grow .Her blog jumped in rankings, and single posts about this received over 3,000 comments of support or concern when the news broke.

    Some even worried if she was leaving the group to do something else, [she is good at comedy].

    AKB is very popular right now and even the smallest things they do get media coverage and many fan reactions.

    Everything that was changed has been reset to the way it was before Sashi is Sashi again.

    The CM was the best part of this millions saw those clips and she moved up in web searches.


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