Using Design to Differentiate a Small Business
The client is Sakura, a Japanese steak house located in Columbus, Ohio. For years they have been running ads featuring some sort of price and item special, just like everyone else in the category. When the sales rep came to me she explained she wanted to bring them something new, more of a branding campaign—a campaign that would separate Sakura from all the other Japanese steak houses, as well as other restaurants in their price point in the area.
I decided to use the challenging economic conditions of this time to our advantage. It was a subject that was timely and was on every consumer's mind.
I needed to create a small-space newspaper campaign that would brand Sakura as the place to go if you wanted good Japanese food that was within your budget or, in other words, inexpensive. I chose to use the red circle from the Japanese flag on a white background for a pie chart to subliminally brand this as Japanese. This became a recurring image and the first consistent element to establish this as a campaign. I created a pie chart to illustrate how little most people were likely to spend on dining out. I then used an image of a person holding chopsticks to define the "dining out" portion of the pie while further enhancing the Japanese influence. This was a different way to show a pie chart and an opportunity to "violate" or break the traditional boundaries of an ad—something that I like to do to help an ad stand out.