As featured on The Edge, Singapore, July 12, 2019
by Audrey Simon
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo - Takashi Uema, general manager of Casio’s timepieces sales promotion department, was all smiles as he picked up each watch and shared their backstories with the media during our recent visit to Japan. For example, he said G-Shock was approached by fast-food giant McDonald’s to develop a watch to help it celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Big Mac last year.
It was the perfect pairing, as G-Shock was celebrating its 35th anniversary. Uema says, “It was a joint anniversary and we wanted to do something interesting. We really gave a lot of attention to the details. It was sold on Japan’s McDonald’s website and all 1,000 pieces were sold within seconds.”
Collaborations and events are all part of Uema’s job, which he clearly enjoys. He explains that he and his team usually search for worthwhile collaborations and will approach the party they are interested to work with.
The Transformers watch is another 35th anniversary special. For this, Uema wanted to do something fun and interesting. He says, “We thought it was quite an interesting collaboration because G-Shock is made in Japan and Transformers is made in Japan too.”
It is this marketing strategy that Uema uses to take G-Shock to a new level not only in Japan but on the world stage as well. “To grow the G-Shock brand, we had to communicate with sports fans, music fans, fashion fans as well as art and watch fans. Through fans in these four categories, we were able to increase the value of G-Shock. I think the secret to G-Shock’s success is marketing it through these four channels,” he says.
With the help of a translator, Uema talks to Options about his plans for G-Shock as well as his career highlights.
You have been with Casio since 1988. What have been some of the highlights of your career so far?
The first highlight would be the beginning of 1990s, when there was a craze for G-Shock in Japan. I triggered that craze with the launch of the DW-5900 watch collection. Then in 1993, I was a founding member of the Baby-G watches.
What is the appeal of G-Shock watches?
G-Shock has this concept of toughness and this concept is quite important. The G-shock brand has used this concept for more than 30 years. Simply put, this is the most important thing about G-Shock. When I say toughness, it is not just the toughness of the product itself but also the tough mind of the person who wears the watch.
Kikuo Ibe is known as the father of G-Shock. What would you like to be known as?
Actually, I spoke to Ibe-san about this many times and I said to him, ‘You are known as the father of G-Shock; can I be the son?’ And he said no. I want to be known as the biggest fan of the fans of G-Shock.
Find out more about Mr Uema’s plans for G-SHOCK in the full article
Article content has been adapted with credits to The Edge Singapore