Commuters on the Yamanote line will be able to enjoy a nostalgic sight this autumn as the train line celebrates its 100th birthday by discarding its modern silver and green livery for an old-fashioned brown exterior. The clever folks at Japan Railways have collaborated with Meiji, whose 100th birthday is also coming up. The sides of the train display the company’s logo in gold, and carriages are also embossed with images of Meiji milk chocolate bars (click the play button for the full-on trainspotting experience).
Ad campaigns on train exteriors are a common sight in Japan, possibly in part due to the fact that trains are almost never defaced by graffiti artists. Pokemon trains are a firm favorite and have appeared on many different campaigns, namely the annual stamp rallies. Trains are not necessarily decorated to advertise a product either. Pink Tentacle has a nice gallery of trains decorated with anime and manga characters. It’s not only exteriors that enjoy creative ad campaigns; last year Ikea replaced seats on Kobe trains with comfy, funky sofas.
To tie in with the decorated Yamanote trains there is currently a rather sweet Meiji ad campaign on TV showing four girls aboard an old-fashioned train, the décor mimicking the frilly cluttered aesthetic of the Meiji Era (though it might be more appropriate to dub it the Victorian era as the train appears to be in Europe). Out of the four girls, who are all well-known singers and actresses, only one actually looks like she regularly eats chocolate. This particular advert shows her chowing down on a bar while she talks about her dream, “To fall in love and become beautiful, also to like myself . . . ” The beautiful girl next to her says, “I was thinking the same thing!”