Bringing Switzerland to Tokyo

Embassy of Switzerland in Japan

An end to end programme promoting 150 years of collaboration

  • Brand Strategy
  • Event
  • Graphic Design
  • Naming

Japan plays a pivotal role in trade with Europe, being the bloc’s 2nd largest trading partner in Asia after China. For Switzerland, it’s relationship with Japan amounts to annual trade of over 16 billion US dollars (more than 2 trillion yen). These numbers are just one signifier of the strength of a relationship that spans three centuries.

2014 was a major moment in this relationship – marking 150 years since the signing of the first trade and friendship agreement between Japan and Switzerland in 1864. The Embassy of Switzerland in Japan was eager to lay a strong foundation for the next 150 years. This would be kickstarted with a 3-day programme of events and initiatives to engage with and build awareness of the countries and their relationship with a new generation

With our expertise in designing, managing and rolling-out complex programmes and events with multiple stakeholders and vendors, the Embassy turned to Eat to help develop the event, named SWISSDAYS, and bring it to life.

From the outset we took a holistic, long-term view on how SWISSDAYS should be developed. We crafted a set of values and principles that would act as a guide for every interaction and touchpoint that was created, ensuring consistency and aspiration throughout the process. A celebratory spirit, fun, and a desire for discovery were all principles informing decision making and execution at every milestone

When it came to creating a visual identity for SWISSDAYS, the challenge was big – crafting an identity that would respect and build on two powerful country brands, while creating something fresh and unexpected. We developed a cube motif, providing a distinctive and dynamic interpretation of the iconic Swiss cross. This would provide the literal building blocks of the physical space for the multi-day event. 

A space in Tokyo’s iconic Roppongi Hills was transformed into a circular village. At the centre an event stage hosted music, arts and sports events. Behind, a huge block screen for custom video projections. Surrounding these, promotional booths for Swiss brands, foods and beverages.

The year-long development process required Eat to manage a complex network of creatives, agencies and suppliers, from construction to PR and media. Careful stakeholder management involving the local Japanese government, commercial sponsors and Swiss government departments was also needed.

The programme went live in February 2014 supported by a custom website, extensive social media and PR, and a suite of on-site, print and digital collateral that would educate and engage audiences across every channel.

Events included performances by well-known Swiss musicians and sports personalities, as well as appearances from the Swiss President and Japanese government officials. A gala dinner was hosted at the Grand Hyatt hotel next door.

Over the course of the three days, media coverage reached EAV (equivalent advertising value) of nearly US$2 million.

SWISSDAYS was a recognition of the friendship past but also marked the start of a deepening friendship to come. We were honoured to be a part of that journey.