In March 2013, Domino's Pizza launched an app that enables customers to place orders using the vocaloid software Hatsune Miku; take AR (augmented reality) photos with the popular vocaloid character, and have her perform live using the delivered pizza box as a stage: http://youtu.be/gW2D_Votd2Y
They achieved their 3-month target in 5 days.
Until then, Domino's, like many other national brands, focused on securing popular TV animation characters from such mega hits as Pokemon and One Piece.
The collaboration with Hatsune Miku was the first time they went for a niche and a deep dive - which paid off.
They have launched an upgrade and a second campaign since, and continue with their success.
It is Cool to Be a Geek
When Dentsu ran a survey of 10,000 youths aged 15 ~ 39 in 2012, 49.9% of teenagers said they are "Otaku" or a geek.
The survey in dicated that the younger the group, the higher the tendency to be proud to be a geek, which clearly shows that there is no stigma attached to geekhood for teens.
"They obviously see the expression 'Otaku' to mean that 'I am really passionate about something' rather than for it to mean anything negative," says Yuichi Yanagida, Strategic Planner at Dentsu who oversaw the survey.
The "ultimate geek fest," the Comic Market (a.k.a. "Komike") showed that there are less traditional geek types and more "normal" kids who are just passionate about animated films and manga.
This year, it was such a popular event for exhibitors, that it was said that only 60% of applicants actually got to exhibit.
Microsoft, Yukijirushi (Snow Brand), and Suntory were among the national brands that participated this year.
While some die hard Komike fans had a chilly reaction to having such brands and companies come to Komike, many said "it is OK so long as they team up with someone on the inside who is cool (as in the case of Yukijirushi and Suntory, they joined forces with Pixiv and had fans submit drawings of pretty girls for labels. Komike became the place where the winners were announced)."
Convenience Store Chain LAWSON'S has a reputation for being geek friendly with their promotions that attract approximately 30,000 viewers when it comes to time to announce them. They have offered such services as "wake up calls in popular animation character voices," among others.
These promotions are created by an internal committee of geeks who really are in the shoes of the target audience.
There has been a lot of talk of "bid data getting personal," but these are examples of targeting a very obvious niche and diving deep into their pockets.