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The Magic Sakura

Social Media Campaign

We were tasked with creating a social media campaign to engage, inspire and educate users about Japan. Additionally the campaign needed to increase JNTO’s social following and grow the database.


“Hanami” is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers, almost always in reference to those of the cherry blossom tree (Sakura) in spring. Our research showed us that our target audience were within the casual gaming market on Facebook, so we combined these two insights and created an origami inspired HTML5 tamagotchi style mini-game wherein consumers could grow and nurture their very own virtual Japanese Sakura tree as well as learn about popular Japanese culture and travel destinations within Japan. As the tree matures and is kept healthy, mythical Japanese creatures fly through the scene and lanterns appear on its branches for the player to collect and earn points. Collecting 50 lanterns earned the player a chance to win a trip to Japan with a friend, to view the cherry blossoms in real life.


Within the first few days of launch we had over 3,000 players organically. We knew instantly we were onto a winner.

As the campaign continued we saw engagement sky rocket with over 31% increase in Facebook fans, 175% increase in engagement on social posts, 11+ million game interactions and a dwell time average of 17+ minutes per session. The fans went crazy for growing their own virtual sakura tree and 85% of players returned to the site. Our winning player picked up a free holiday to Japan to experience Hanami for themselves.