Celebrated Japanese beauty brand Shiseido is the latest company to jump on the UGC bandwagon with its 2015 New Year’s ad campaign—starring none other than Lady Gaga. The pop phenom, a prolific Instagrammer with nearly 5 million followers, has become both the face and photographer of the campaign, which dropped over the New Year’s holiday, one of Japan’s busiest shopping periods. Forty-six images appeared in numerous Japanese national and regional newspapers on New Year’s Day, and the rest on January 5th. Of particular interest to ad-industry watchers is the fact that Gaga has neglected to mention that the selfies—some of which she also posted on Instagram—are part of a marketing push, or at all affiliated with Shiseido. Regardless, the campaign is already generating major buzz internationally, and given her already massive popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun, 2015 is likely be both the year of the goat and the year of Gaga.
The campaign is a shining example of how Asia is riding the selfie wave like perhaps no other region in the world, as detailed in a fascinating recent article in Advertising Age. The piece notes how 2014 was a banner year for selfies in marketing, from Samsung’s coup at the Oscars—the Selfie Seen Round the World with Ellen Degeneres, Bradley Cooper, and Angelina Jolie, among others— to Beats by Dre’s recent #soloselfie campaign. It goes on to detail how Max Factor recently made a splash in China with a contest that encouraged users to take photos showing how they pair their eye makeup with their anti-pollution facemasks…a trend that also seems to be a distinctly Asian phenomenon.