Social-media influencers who review products on platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are now pillars of marketing agencies worldwide, especially when their consumer base skews young. Whether the product is hand soap or ham sandwiches, in a world where "expert" has become a dirty word, getting a push from a social-media star with over a million followers can make or break a sales campaign.
One major Japanese publisher and producer is seeking to capitalize on the phenomenon in pop culture with a concrete if highly unusual approach. Last July, Kadokawa Corp. soft-launched a subsidiary of its Book Walker Co. Ltd. digital e-book division called GeeXPlus ("Geeks plus") Inc., whose main goal is "connecting Japanese brands to global influencers" by providing "promotion planning, production and distribution" for English-speaking YouTubers.
In October of last year, GeeXPlus invited three anime YouTubers to live and create their posts in Japan: Garnt Maneetapho and Connor Colquhoun from the United Kingdom, and Sydney Poniewaz from the United States. The company will announce its official launch on Feb. 17 at a private event in Tokyo's Michelin-starred Inua restaurant, which is produced by Kadokawa.