Toshikazu Ieda, Yasuyuki Oka

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Toshikazu Ieda
Toshikazu Ieda
Is it possible to power an aircraft with AA batteries? That was the question that Panasonic and Japanese agency Hakuhodo asked when they announced the "Oxyride Manned Flight Project" in 2006. And according to Panasonic's Yasuyuki Oka, even he wasn't sure of the answer when the project began. "We announced to the press that we would attempt to fly a manned battery-powered plane, without knowing whether it would actually fly," he says. "Our challenge was to build up buzz by revealing the risk involved." To that end, Panasonic and Hakuhodo, led by CD Toshikazu Ieda, let consumers follow the development of the project on the web and through a 4-monthlong television series. The result? The 600 meter flight powered by 160 AA batteries generated some $4 million in media coverage in Japan and abroad. It also brought recognition from the global advertising community, which awarded the effort a Promo Lion and Japan's only Film Lion at the 2007 International Advertising Festival in Cannes.While clients often downplay the significance of awards, Oka sees the global stage they provide as an important spur to creativity. "It is good to aim for advertising awards," he says. "If you stick to ideas that make sense in the company, you will end up with creative that works only in the company. Ideas that work around the world result in creative that works anywhere—and highly fresh communication at the end of it all."

Yasuyuki Oka
Yasuyuki Oka


Oka on being honored in Cannes: "Honestly, I've been trying for this for many years, so I am just happy to have received the award.My relations with all the people who worked on this project have been deepened by this shared success. Now I take aim at the Grand Prix."



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