Japanese culture is famous for expressing things discretely and indirectly. It’s a kind of game that goes back to the Heian era court nobility that loved to write love letters using common expressions that only the two principals could understand the true meaning of. The ones who were supposed to get it, got it.
You can see that discreet Heian sensibility at play in Japanese ads whenever a new iPhone is released. The carriers place all kinds of posters and banner ads mentioning: “the new smartphone everybody is talking about.”
iPhone is never mentioned but there is no question which new smartphone is being referred to. Everybody in Japan gets it. This is convenient for the carriers as they can place whatever ad they want without clearance from Apple. After all neither Apple nor iPhone is ever mentioned.
A good example is the Docomo train ad pictured above. Phone 7 finally includes 1.5 GHz band support for the Docomo network (band 21), allowing them to offer faster carrier aggregation speeds for iPhone 7 customers. Docomo is calls it Premium 4G and is aggressively rolling out 375Mbps service (see the map below).
Docomo’s speed advantage is advertised in the poster tag line at the bottom: “Enjoy the fastest LTE speeds in Japan on the new smartphone everybody is talking about.”
The creative possibilities are endless.
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