Kobayashi – Air Pollution Discount

The Challenge

Kobayashi Pharmaceutical, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, wished to start a campaign to promote the Hadagokochi, an anti-pollution mask, in the online shopping market in China.

In China, the mask category was dominated by 3M. 3M and many other brands invested heavily in making online banner advertisements to attract consumers to e-commerce sites. The Hadagokochi mask was barely known in China. So we needed to take an unconventional approach that emphasized a “Mobile First” strategy based on the fact that 70% of online shopping in China is conducted using mobile devices.


Chinese air pollution had reached new hazardous levels. In foreign media, Chinese people are portrayed as being well-prepared and protected with masks. But the surprising truth is that a vast majority of them are not bothered with wearing masks despite monitoring pollution levels on their mobile every day.


We created a mobile site titled “Air Pollution Discount” with a simple idea: the higher the air pollution, the greater the discount on Kobayashi masks!

Air Pollution Discount reacts towards real-time data every minute by detecting a consumer’s location (GPS) and displaying the air pollution level of the location. It then dispenses a discount coupon for Kobayashi masks, which can be used on Tmall.com, China’s largest e-commerce portal.

We drove traffic to the mobile site with a unique banner that only appears when the air is polluted. The campaign was implemented during the winter season, when air pollution was most serious and competition between mask brands was most fierce in China.

Result / Business Effect

Our Air Pollution Discount coupon turned out to have a much higher usage rate than coupons given by usual e-commerce sites. As a result, sales of Kobayashi masks rose up to 310%.

“Air Pollution Discount” also became a hot online topic, with celebrities sharing their discounts with fans contributing to almost 3.7 million conversations about it not only in China but also in foreign media.


Naoto Ichimaru