To announce the launch of a new rail line, the Kyushu Rail Company loaded one of its bullet trains with cameras and sent it speeding through Japan. Onlookers came out in droves to catch sight of the train, which linked Japan’s southernmost island to the mainland for the first time. They dressed in a rainbow of colors and waved, danced and smiled as the train went by (the Power Rangers even made an appearance; look for them in the video). The rail company had caught something special: an unscripted, bubbly video that showed varied landscape and happy people of Japan. But what the marketers at the rail company didn’t realize was that the commercial was set to air the very day of the horrific 2011 earthquake in Japan.
Kyushu immediately pulled the two-minute celebratory commercial from the air. But after a month or so of unbearable news about the nearly 16,000 fatalities and the 3,000 plus who still remained missing, the company decided to air the commercial. It immediately became an immediate phenomenon; viewers literally shed tears of joy when they saw the smiling faces across the island. The commercial shows the united power of the country, and most importantly made the grieving nation smile. Today, almost a year and a half after the earthquake, the video is still a morale booster.