Full Speed Ahead to Carbon Neutral with Nikkeisha

By: Hiroyuki Nakamura, Creative Director/Art Director, Nikkeisha

Amidst the backdrop of global concerns over shipping’s environmental impact, “K” Line has stood firm in its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions. The company is steadily achieving its Environmental Vision 2050 initiative goals, such as increasing the use and transport of alternative energy sources, halving its carbon emissions by 2030, and attaining carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Nikkeisha aimed to expand public awareness of the “K” Line’s environmental measures and make the “K” Line name synonymous with safety, green technology, and quality. Toward this end, Nikkeisha focused on communicating five key environmental breakthroughs embraced by “K” Line: (1) an innovative kite system that harnesses wind power to propel ships, (2) a ship fueled by liquefied natural gas, (3) a ship supporting the construction of offshore wind farms, (4) a zero-emission ship, and (5) a ship that transports liquefied CO2.

Since no photographs were available for breakthroughs still in development, and some environmental advances were difficult to convey with photography, Nikkeisha considered using image processing and computer graphics. However, the creative team was concerned that such techniques might compromise campaign quality and client credibility. So, we made the bold decision to abandon photography and use illustrations instead. This did not mean presenting the environmental measures as fantasy. Quite the contrary—we felt that telling stories through illustrations, such as in illustrated books enjoyed by children, was a sincere and effective means of expression.

Since we wanted the illustrations to produce a stronger impression than photographs, we sought an artist who could draw them by hand. Yuko Ota emerged as the artist of choice from among several candidates. Her realistic yet atmospheric acrylics wonderfully expressed the quality and trustworthiness we were seeking. 

Each advertisement paired an image of a “K” Line ship with an image of nature to underscore the company’s commitment to preserving natural environments. The vessel was pictured navigating azure waters with the words “Full ahead to carbon neutral” to convey “K” Line’s unwavering determination.

The culmination of this visionary campaign was widespread acclaim, a Gold Award at the 2023 Japan B2B Advertising Awards, and a Gold Award from the 2024 Graphis Advertising Awards. The innovative advertising spearheaded by Nikkeisha has elevated “K” Line’s corporate identity and ignited a beacon of hope for a more sustainable future.


Creative Director/Art Director/Designer: Hiroyuki Nakamura

Designer: Hikari Maesaka

Copywriter: Takeshi Wakabayashi

Illustrator: Yuko Ota

Account Executive: Ryo Suzuki, Kanako Hattori

We are Nikkeisha, a Tokyo-based, full-service advertising agency with a nationwide network in Japan. Founded in 1942, we have been creating various kinds of powerful advertising through the capabilities of marketing, media planning, digital technologies, and excellent creative works. We are also part of the Nikkei Group. The Nikkei Group is the biggest economic media firm in Japan, covering everything from consumer to business. As a result, we are superior when it comes to B2B communication and its creative works. If you have any difficulties wit marketing strategy, please feel free to contact us.  We promise we’ll always support you with our client-centered approach.

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Author: Graphis