The local specialty “Warasubo” surprised me: It is a fish that looks like an alien – but as a meal it is very light. It struck me that locals don’t think of it as anything special.

Saga City, set in a muddy bay on the Ariake Sea in Japan, was struggling to attract tourists. So we created the story of the Alien of Ariake.

Based on the fact that the local fish delicacy looks disturbingly otherworldly, we claimed an alien sighting. We filmed a short story and made a fake news report to seed on social media.

Our tiny budget generated staggering returns with news channels and national newspapers running the story. 

Now, every local restaurant is serving up the local delicacy and the town is finally on the tourist map. On this planet at least.

It's time brands put more scrutiny into the type of agency best suited to lead their communications strategy. If the primary opportunity or barrier is shopper-related, why is the advertising team still developing the big idea?"

Gareth Ellen, China COO & Regional Planning Director, Shanghai

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