Bandai and Namco plan to merge into a multi-billion dollar entertainment company so they can beat Japan’s falling birthrate. With fewer children being born each year, the companies have fewer potential customers.

By merging, the companies hope to migrate Bandai’s film characters to Namco’s game systems and arcades. Bandai owns the rights to cartoons and films like Hello Kitty, Digimon and Strawberry Shortcake. Namco, the video games publisher that brought the world Pac Man, also owns theme parks and arcades.

The “greying” of Japan’s population has been the focus of marketers in recent years. Companies have scrambled to improve offerings for seniors. However, the Bandai-Namco merger shows that marketers need to look at how demographic shifts affect all markets, even when that seems counterintuitive.

(c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.