By on September 20, 2011

This man has become a fixture at Nissan’s press events. He walks around with a small video camera and a laptop hanging from his neck, as if he’s selling hot dogs at a ballgame. His name is Shotaro Ogawa, and he is most likely the biggest revolution when it comes to automakers connecting with their customers. Ogawa is Nissan’s walking live video stream and real time social networker. And he may put us old timey bloggers out of business.

Just take today: I got up at six, took the 9am flight to an airport you probably never heard of (Kitakyushu,) braved typhoon delays and got home to Tokyo by 10 p. By the time I had pictures sorted, the Ghosn and Yen story written, it was 5 in the morning.

Ogawa was done for the day at 4pm. His live stream went up via Ustream. Nothing else to do for him than be there and point his high def video camera in the right direction. Bingo, hours of entertainment for the adoring masses. Those masses can even talk back. Osawa receives typed messages and tweets and writes back as the event happens.

Other carmakers get hopped up about social media, and what do they get? Some in-house blogs that are long out of date after everybody and legal has signed off on the story. A bunch of tweets that are too boring to monitor, and that stop cold when someone inadvertently uses the F-word, or even more inadvertently tweeted via Foursquare: “I am at the Folsom Street  Fair with 200 others.”

Ogawa, a 20 year veteran of Nissan, is miles ahead of them. Isn’t it a bit risky to stream something live, I mean, who knows what might happen? “Sure it is,” says Ian Rowley, Manager of Nissan’s Global Media Center in Yokohama. “There is always a small element of risk. But the benefits by far outweigh the risk. Also, it helps to have a boss who doesn’t mind a little risk,” he says and points in the direction of Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, who is up on stage, talking to blue-clad workers at the Kyushu plant while Ogawa’s laptop is streaming him live through the interwebs.

Currently, the material is only in available in Japanese. Nothing stops Nissan from doing it in English tomorrow. Especially with a CEO named Carlos Ghosn, who addresses his employees in English, with rapid-fire translation on Channel B. If all automakers adopt this idea, then us old-school bloggers can pack it in. Or we can pray to the God of Bytes and Pixels that a stage catches fire, a fired dealer disrobes on stage, or PETA disrupts the proceedings, demonstrating against horsepower, which is a blatant abuse of animals.


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16 Comments on “This Man Will Put Us All Out Of Business...”

  • avatar


    There will always be a need for independent reporting. When that stage catches fire while a fired dealer disrobes on stage and PETA disrupts the proceedings, Ogawa-san will, because he works for Nissan, cut away from coverage.

  • avatar

    There will always be a need for analysis and reflection, which is best done over several hours or days.

  • avatar

    I don’t think most people want to take the time to read or listen to an unfiltered press conference – unless you are really obsessed with Nissan, who has the time?

    I’d rather read ten paragraphs on TTAC about the meeting which takes me only a few minutes, as opposed to listening to an hour press conference. You’ll give us the interesting stuff.

    Not that this isn’t a cool idea, especially when Nissan has some products like the Leaf that inspire intense curiosity. Someone might listen to an hour about the Leaf and really be interested. But for most things, the condensation and opinion insertions TTAC does are valuable.

    After all, nobody at Nissan will create the Nissan Death Watch for us. You will, should the need ever come up …


    • 0 avatar

      The need for a “Nissan Deathwatch” ~did~ come up, but it was just before either TTAC and Carlos Ghosn arrived on the scene!

      Mr. Ogawa looks like an Apple user – he probably likes the light weight, decent battery life and great video capabilities of his MacBook Pro. Come to think of it, an “Apple Deathwatch” series would have made sense about the same time as the “Nissan Deathwatch” – although Apple seems to be doing fine now.

      Agreed that this is a great way to get the official message out quickly, but that it is no substitute for independent journalism and analysis.

  • avatar

    That’s the real Jack Baruth.

  • avatar

    We’ve come a long way since Al Franken’s coverage on SNL:

  • avatar

    I can just imagine this at Chrysler… you’d get live streaming video of people smoking a joint before finishing off fitting a dashboard to a 200… ooooonly kidding.
    Bertel, if you’re worried about your job, just stick your foot out next time he’s tweeting/facebooking/uploading to youtube/surfing for porn and walking between press conferences. With that much clobber I doubt he’d fall over gracefully.

  • avatar

    By the looks of things, I don’t think Bertel will need to stick his foot out. As a fellow professional in a similar environment, I must say that cable dangling from Ogawa-san’s cam-laptop is a tad long. Won’t be long before he trips over his own equipment! Kaizen possibility?

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    The man works for Nissan, right? He knows where his bread is uh butte….ginger gets pickled. So he’s functioning much in the same way the quarterly investors phone calls work. There’s not that much risk involved, but it looks impressive though.

  • avatar

    I’m guessing this guy doesn’t get his stuff CC’d live. Wearing hearing aides & not having any CC on the video would make this pretty useless to me.

  • avatar

    Wonder why he covers up the Apple logo.

  • avatar

    I’m sick enough of predigested market-fluff as it is … I can’t imagine mainlining it straight up.

  • avatar

    Actually this guy’s methodology needs to be used by more ~real~ reporters now versus shlepping around in a satellite van accompanied by a crew and showing up after after the authorities arrived and everything has already calmed down.

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