HOW HARUKO TSUTSUI CHANGED THE WAY WE LOOKED AT ELECTRICITY

Haruko Tsutsui, concept creator, storyteller, and now creative director of global agency Dentsu (Japan), works by her agency’s philosophy to serve clients “by providing solutions that meet the challenges presented by changes in society, the environment and consumer lifestyles”. Haruko and the agency work to bring together the best elements of entrepreneurship, ideas and technology to form the group’s slogan, “Good Innovation”. In the addition to taking home numerous international awards, including the Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions festival, D&AD, One Show and Adfest, Haruko has done work for major clients such as Honda, Panasonic, Tokyo Metro and Menicon. This year, at the World Design Summit 2017 held in Montréal, the WDS and Montréal agency lg2, will co-present Haruko and Dentsu’s group creative director, Yoshihiro Yagi. The two will present their work “Life Is Electric”, winner of the Grand Prix for design at the Cannes Lions festival (2016). The project tackled a global re-branding of the Japanese electric appliance manufacturer, Panasonic, to express the fundamental commitment to craftsmanship at the heart of the company’s philosophy. The duo believes that design is a thinking process, “something sensual and an internal necessity for all.”  

Life is Electric

A hamster running in a wheel, a cheer girl waving pompoms, a date on a swan boat… One “thing” is generated from all these movements. The answer is electricity.   Panasonic’s “Life is electric” project, which is an attempt to visualize and emphasize the importance of electricity, started in 2014. In one of their campaigns, they made 21 types of “eneloop” batteries, which were all charged from unusual daily sources. The package, booklet and movie were released this April, and they recently won the Cannes Lions Design Grand Prix.  
The project started with the goal to rebuild Panasonic’s image and to appeal to the international market. They decided to use their battery “eneloop” for branding, which was celebrating its 10th anniversary. “Our main goal was to emphasize the importance of electricity which is usually taken for granted. This turned out as an attempt to explain what Panasonic is. They are people who are thinking about electricity more than anyone else,” says the art director Yoshihiro Yagi. Although their goal was clear, “Life is electric” took 3 years for preparation. Copywriter Haruko Tsutsui says, “When I was looking for ideas, I realised this could be a new form of advertisement. How do we want users to like or notice Panasonic? How do we want the design to function in the project? We would have multiple meetings with the whole team. We didn’t hesitate to stop and change things, and then start again.”
“When I was looking for ideas, I realised this could be a new form of advertisement”.
During the process, Panasonic’s battery developers joined the team. They say, “After a number of meetings, our ambition to deliver the project became stronger”. This year’s Cannes Lions Design judge says, “It was important that Panasonic played a big role in the production, not just the agency”. If either were missing, the design would have turned out differently. Usually, Japanese designs are praised for its craftiness, but this project was awarded for the teamwork. (Source: mag.sendenkaigi.com)