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Volume 26 No. 25
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Nissan Is Latest Japanese Brand To Add Naomi Osaka As Endorser

Nissan hopes having Osaka as a face of the company will appeal to younger drivers and boost sales

Nissan has signed U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka as its next brand ambassador, "tapping the tennis star's youth, drive and Japanese roots to appeal to younger customers," according to Tajitsu & Foster of REUTERS. Osaka attended a contract signing event at Nissan's Yokohama HQ, and the automaker said that she will "appear in global promotions and advertising in its three-year contract." Adding Osaka is something of a "branding departure for a firm whose popular GT-R sports car attracts men aged 40 and older." Usain Bolt promoted the GT-R from '12-16. Nissan joins a "growing number of companies" in Osaka's portfolio, including Adidas, Yonex, Nissin Foods, media company Wowow and Citizen Watch. Having Osaka as a "face of Nissan gives it an edge in appealing to younger drivers as it looks to boost sales of its Leaf all-battery electric car, and promote automated and connected-driving technologies" (REUTERS, 9/12).

ISLAND TAKEOVER: The AP's Wade & Yamaguchi writes Osaka's "mixed-race profile, her appeal in the huge Asian market, and her links to Japan's world-wide brands should drive her long-term earning potential." Tokyo-based Nissin is "launching a new noodle cup to commemorate her victory." A spokesperson for Windsor Corp., which operates tennis shops in Tokyo, said that customers are "asking to buy the same racket that Osaka uses" (AP, 9/13). In Japan, Joel Tansey notes Osaka has been on the cover of "newspapers and magazines across the country, been the subject of TV specials and had every aspect of her life dissected by talk-show personalities." The fervor around Osaka has "rapidly spread across the nation and people involved in the sport are witnessing that firsthand." She has also "appeared on 'Today' and the 'Ellen DeGeneres Show'" (, 9/13).