Creative in association withGear Seven

Rakuten Makes US Debut During the Grammy Awards with Duncan Channon

Advertising Agency
San Francisco, USA
Directors Vania & Muggia shoot series of spots for the e-commerce loyalty programme

Rakuten launched its first-ever North American TV campaign to introduce its brand and online loyalty platform to US consumers during the Grammy Awards. 

Sports fans may have noticed the Rakuten brand on the jerseys of FC Barcelona and Golden State Warriors players, the latter as part of a three-year $60M partnership with the NBA champion franchise. Now, Japanese e-commerce and Internet giant Rakuten is going all in with a TV campaign by Duncan Channon to officially launch its brand and e-commerce loyalty programme in US and Canada. 

Two TV spots directed by Vania & Muggia - the acclaimed duo known for their videos for Coldplay, Bob Dylan and DJ Snake - immerse the viewer in a stylish world in which two young women explore and manifest their desires in life with nothing in the way. Artful effects create a bridge between each woman’s imagined wants and seamless purchases rewarded by Rakuten’s loyalty program - subtly conveyed with the plus sign icon central to the brand’s online and in-app user experience. These aspirational purchases with Rakuten propel the characters toward meaningful life experiences, including running a marathon, and attending a best friend’s wedding. 

With the campaign, Rakuten is introducing itself as a premium lifestyle brand to savvy consumers who want to be rewarded for their shopping in a way that facilitates their passions in life. 'Life to the Power of R' is the first work by Duncan Channon for Rakuten North America as part of a new business win via competitive pitch. The win named Duncan Channon as creative lead for Rakuten’s North American launch. The agency also provided strategic and visual guidance on how to express the brand in North America. 

“Consumer empowerment is at the core of Rakuten’s brand, so we wanted to find an agency partner with a strong point-of-view on how to express this truth for our U.S. launch,” said Kim Miller, CMO, Rakuten North America. “We’re incredibly proud of the rich storytelling and visual elegance of this campaign with Duncan Channon. It celebrates the pursuit of thrilling and memorable experiences while subtly showing how Rakuten facilitates our members’ desires in life.” 

At a time when credit cards are often viewed as the primary way to leverage personal spending to accrue cash back and other rewards that fuel meaningful experiences, Rakuten adds a complementary layer to the shopping rewards ecosystem. Rakuten allows members to earn cash back while shopping at more than 2,500 retailers accessed through or Rakuten’s app -  while also accumulating rewards from their credit card or retailer loyalty program. Rakuten has been working toward its entry in the North American market since it acquired cashback shopping platform Ebates - with its 12M customers - for $1B in 2014. The company plans to significantly enhance the current customer experience and cashback value proposition of in its long-term bid to become the country’s ultimate loyalty platform. 

TV spots 'Runner' and 'RSVP' debuted during the Grammy Awards on February 10th in the US, and will air nationally on broadcast and cable networks including CBS, NBC, HGTV, Food Network, TLC and A&E. The creative will launch in Canada March 4th. The campaign rollout will include two additional TV spots launching in spring 2019 - including one featuring two-time NBA MVP Steph Curry. 

“Rakuten is a lifestyle brand, so it was vital to tell stories that connect with with people’s real lives and aspirations. Nothing transactional,” said Michael Lemme, chief creative officer, Duncan Channon. “Rakuten rewards you for doing what you would anyway. These spots put the characters – their imaginations and aspirations – on center stage. You do you and Rakuten rewards you for it. It’s really that simple.”

Agency / Creative
Post Production / VFX
Work from Duncan Channon