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Take a look at this ad which went up on December 5th, 2022 in two major Tokyo train stations:
Although it's hiding a message, it just looks like an abstract digital mosaic of colors. Japanese students prepping for exams, however, have an advantage when it comes to reading it: they usually carry around the tool to decipher it, a translucent red sheet.
Mai | © Pixta
Many Japanese test preparation books have answers in red and are designed to be used with these sheets. Although some working adults may carry them around too because preparation books for certification exams sometimes also have this feature, the majority are students still in secondary education.
The last mock entrance exam for high school students and high school graduates is on December 11th, 2022, and the unified entrance exam is on January 14th, 2023. Therefore, this is the time when high school seniors are most likely to be carrying around those sheets as they prepare.
At the bottom of the colorful mosaic, there's a message in Japanese which says: "To students preparing for entrance exams who, today as well, are doing their best as they hold up their red sheets."
Suntory's energy drink brand ZONe ENERGY created the ads to offer messages of support and encouragement to students who are studying hard during this crucial moment, sometimes even using their commute time on the train. Naturally, they'd like to propose their products to give students the energy they need to get the job done!
They chose Shibuya and Ikebukuro stations, where there's a high concentration of prep schools such as 東進予備校 Toshin Prep School, 駿台予備校 Sundai Prep School, and 河合塾 Kawaijuku.
Students who hold up their red sheets to the ads will see: "All of you using your red sheets to study in the train, you will pass your exams!" "All of your efforts will finally pay off!" "Run to the finish line! If you lack confidence, just find it within you!" and other inspirational messages.
The digital ads will be displayed until December 11th, 2022 at the following locations:
Keio Inokashira Line Shibuya Station, near the central ticket gate
Seibu Railway Ikebukuro Station, outside the basement ticket gates
You can see animated mockups up the ads—which also require translucent red sheets to view clearly— and learn information about ZONe ENERGY on their special website here.