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他联系了罗纳尔多和麦当娜,然后就成了亿万富豪

彭博社 2018年09月14日

这位日本人能成功的原因,是使出浑身解数邀请巨星为自己的产品代言。

松下刚完全不认识罗纳尔多和麦当娜,但他千方百计联系上了他们,说服他们为他的产品代言。

正因如此,这位日本企业家成功地把公司打造成价值23亿美元的大企业,自己也因此成为身价上十亿的富豪。他说,之所以能成功,是因为自己籍籍无名的小公司能放手一搏,使出浑身解数邀请巨星为自己的产品代言。

松下刚是株式会社MTG的总裁,他在东京的一次采访中说:“大部分人因为觉得机会渺茫,甚至都不肯试着联系一下罗纳尔多或者麦当娜。”但是“我从出生起就一直在做那1%的尝试,而且非常幸运。”

MTG生产多种产品,包括和麦当娜共同推出的一个护肤品牌以及一个与罗纳尔多合作的腹肌训练仪SIXPAD(意为六块腹肌)。公司上一财年收入超过4亿美元,7月在东京上市,上市首日股价飙升27%。松下刚在公司的持股为72%。

这位48岁企业家的经商史可以追溯到多年以前,他还在日本一个小岛上念小学的时候就已经踏入了商界。那时就像现在一样,他的产品想要创造潮流、利用潮流;那时的潮流是长得像熊猫一样的兔子。

松下刚还在上小学的时候就去长崎买进荷兰兔,自己饲养再卖给从没见过这种兔子的岛民。他的生意一时间欣欣向荣,直到后来这种兔子不再稀缺,失去了价值。“我就是这么起步的。”他说。

松下刚后来在1994年开了一家二手车经销商。但他很快决定要生产自己的产品,于是在1996年创建了MTG的前身,他在每一个领域都做了尝试,从保健品到陶瓷制品,不一而足。2009年,他生产的通过微电流促进血液循环的ReFa按摩滚轮大获成功。

“他有热情。”松下刚的手下清川拓野这样评价他的老板。清川拓野在孩提时代就给松下刚打工拔草养兔子,现在他是MTG制造部的主管。“他是世界上最罕见的那种人,是最棒的人。最重要的是,他是工作最努力的人。”

几年后,作为ReFa成功后的下一步发展计划,松下刚决定和麦当娜合作开发一个护肤品牌。松下刚找了广告公司很多次,想要和麦当娜见面,广告公司都告诉他不可能。

“我开始试着问问身边的人认不认识麦当娜。”松下刚说。“他们看着我的样子就好像我是个神经病。但最终通过A认识B,经过一些这样的联系,我们找到了她。”

MTG在2014年2月和流行女王麦当娜共同推出了MDNA SKIN品牌。松下刚说,在开发过程中他们和麦当娜进行了反复交流。这个护肤品牌旗下有多款产品,其中包括可以使用磁性设备清洗掉的黏土面膜,它的卖点是使用来自意大利温泉的“圣水”。MTG说他们没有公开MDNA SKIN的详细销售情况。

松下刚并不愿意止步于此,他又把注意力投向了罗纳尔多。他认为这位五届国际足联年度球员的获得者是唯一一个他希望可以代言ReFa面部活性美容滚轮的人。

同样的,他又一次联系广告公司,被告知这不可能。他又一次通过关系网联系到了对方,并成功说服这位足球巨星为产品代言。2014年7月,MTG开始了与罗纳尔多的合作。

公司在第二年推出了SIXPAD,该设备通过对肌肉进行电流刺激来增强腹部和身体其它部位的肌肉。它可以戴在腰间或四肢,通过向肌肉发送电流,引起肌肉收缩,起到对于该部位的锻炼作用。

按照松下刚的说法,这个和罗纳尔多一起合作的设备在推出时,罗纳尔多已经和这位日本企业家建立了私人关系。松下刚说,当罗纳尔多为了宣布双方的合作关系访问MTG总部所在地名古屋时,还参加了松下刚家里的烧烤聚会,为当地的孩子举办了足球座谈会。

罗纳尔多为SIXPAD拍摄的电视广告在日本大热,MTG过去三年卖出了超过100万台设备,自从产品推出以来,公司年收入已经翻了不止一倍。

我们请罗纳尔多和麦当娜对此进行评论,但未收到回应。

松下刚签了三名专门研究微电流的专家来证实SIXPPAD的效果,打破那些说这个产品就是个笑话的批评之声。

“理论上说,SIXPAD诱发的肌肉收缩有助于提升肌肉的体积和力量。”和他人共同主持开展相关研究的中京大学副教授渡边浩平说。

无论如何,公司7月10日在日本的创业板东京交易所Mothers板块上市,松下刚在MTG的股份现在价值23亿美元。

公司股票在一开始的大涨后出现回落。相较于7月12日的最高点,股价已经下降18%。Nomura公司有分析员对MTG股票进行了评分,称该股票可继续持有,目标价格为8000日元,即比周二收市价高23%。

MTG的下一步是拓展主打SIXPAD产品的健身房数量。使用该产品进行锻炼,仅需15分钟,而且没有必要换运动服和运动鞋,松下刚说。公司现在仅在东京有一个SIXPAD STATION(SIXPAD活动中心),它的目标是在全球开5000家,其中500家在日本。

至于能否成功,我们要拭目以待,但故事的主角对此毫不怀疑。

“我们公司正在一年比一年更强大。”他说。(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Tsuyoshi Matsushita didn’t know Cristiano Ronaldo or Madonna at all, but he somehow got in touch with them and persuaded them to be the faces of his products.

By doing so, the Japanese entrepreneur built his company into a $2.3 billion firm, making himself a billionaire in the process. It was made possible, he said, because his little-known business gambled on trying to get the superstars to endorse its brands.

“Most people wouldn’t even try to get Ronaldo or Madonna because they think it’s such a slim chance,” the president of MTG Co. said in an interview in Tokyo. But “I’ve been thriving on that 1 percent chance since birth. And I’ve gotten lucky.”

Matsushita’s MTG Co. makes a kaleidoscope of products, including a skincare line developed with Madonna and an abdominal muscle-training device called SIXPAD in partnership with Ronaldo. The company, which had more than $400 million in revenue last fiscal year, listed in Tokyo in July, when its shares surged 27 percent on their first day. Matsushita retains a 72 percent stake.

The 48-year-old has a long history as an entrepreneur, taking his first steps into the world of business when he was still a schoolchild on a small Japanese island. Back then — as now — his product line sought to create and capitalize on a fad; at that time, it was rabbits that looked like pandas.

While still in grade school, Matsushita traveled to Nagasaki, bought the Dutch rabbits, bred them and sold them to the islanders, who had never seen their like before. For a brief moment he had the perfect business, until the panda rabbits lost their scarcity value. “That’s how I got started,” he said.

Matsushita went on to establish a used-car dealership in 1994. But he soon decided he wanted to make his own products, so he founded the predecessor of MTG in 1996. There, he tried his hand at everything from health-care items to ceramics. In 2009, he had success with the ReFa massage roller, which uses microcurrents to promote blood circulation.

“He’s got heart,” Takuya Kiyokawa, who Matsushita got to pluck grass to feed his rabbits back in his childhood days and is now head of manufacturing at MTG, said of his boss. “He’s the scariest person in the world and the nicest person in the world. And above all, he’s the hardest worker.”

A few years later, Matsushita became determined to develop a skincare brand in partnership with Madonna, as the next step after the ReFa brand. Matsushita did the rounds of advertising agencies, trying to find a way to meet her. They told him it was impossible.

“I started asking those around me if they knew Madonna,” Matsushita said. “They looked at me like I was crazy. But eventually someone knew someone and after a while, we were finally able to reach her.”

MTG launched the MDNA SKIN brand with the Queen of Pop in February 2014. It came after much back and forth with the singer over the development, according to Matsushita. The skincare line, which consists of a range of products including a clay mask that can be removed by a magnetic device, is promoted as using “blessed waters” from thermal springs in Italy. MTG says it doesn’t disclose details of MDNA SKIN’s sales.

Not content to leave it there, Matsushita turned his attention to Ronaldo. He’d decided that the five-time FIFA Player of the Year was the only person that he would want to represent his ReFa Active facial beauty roller.

Once again, he contacted advertising agencies and was told a meeting was impossible. Again, he finally got in touch by using his network of contacts, and managed to convince the soccer star to represent the product. In July 2014, MTG started a collaboration with Ronaldo.

The next year, the company launched SIXPAD, a device that uses electrical muscle stimulation to tone the abdomen and other parts of the body. The machine wraps around the waist or limbs and sends electrical currents through the muscles, causing contractions and essentially working out that body part.

Again, the device was in partnership with Ronaldo, who had by then developed a relationship with the Japanese entrepreneur, according to Matsushita. Matsushita says that when Ronaldo visited Nagoya, where MTG is based, for the partnership announcement, he also attended a barbeque at his house and hosted a soccer clinic for kids from the area.

Ronaldo’s TV advertisements for SIXPAD have become well-known in Japan, and MTG has sold more than one million units of the device in the past three years, with the company’s revenue more than doubling after the product was launched.

Ronaldo and Madonna didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Matsushita contracted three researchers who specialize in EMS to verify SIXPAD’s effectiveness and stave off criticism that it’s a gimmick.

“Theoretically, muscle contraction induced by Sixpad can improve muscle mass and strength,” said Kohei Watanabe, an associate professor at Chukyo University who co-authored the study.

Whatever the case, Matsushita’s stake in MTG is now worth about $2.3 billion, after the company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s Mothers market for startup firms on July 10.

After initially surging, the stock has tailed off. It’s down about 18 percent from a peak on July 12. The one analyst with a rating on the stock, from Nomura Holdings Inc., says it’s a hold with a price target of 8,000 yen, up 23 percent from Tuesday’s close.

MTG’s next step is to increase the number of training gym locations featuring its SIXPAD products. A workout only takes about 15 minutes, and there’s no need to change into gym clothes or sneakers, Matsushita said. The company currently has one SIXPAD STATION in Tokyo, but it’s aiming to open 5,000 worldwide, including 500 in Japan.

Only time will tell whether that will be successful, but the man in question won’t be betting against himself.

“Year by year, we are making our company stronger,” he said.

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