Daring Strategy of Osaka CEO with Scandalous Actors in Ads | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Daring Strategy of Osaka CEO with Scandalous Actors in Ads

Takeshi Umemoto, president of RESOUND CLOTHING, has selected Masahiko Kondo, Masahiro Higashide, Sosuke Takaoka, Kentaro Ito, and others for his company, and the company's performance has steadily increased.

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Mr. Umemoto, who responded to our magazine’s interview, says that celebrities like Tatsuya Yamaguchi and Hiroyuki Miyasako also wear the clothes he handles.

For companies that value their public image, it’s typical to distance themselves from celebrities who have caused scandals. However, there’s an apparel brand called “RESOUND CLOTHING” based in Osaka, with stores across Japan, including Tokyo, that deliberately chooses to use actors who have made mistakes in their advertising campaigns. 

Among the individuals who have become models for the same brand are Masahiko Kondo (59), Sosuke Takaoka (42), Masaki Suda (36), and Kenta Ito (26), all of whom have been involved in some kind of scandal in the past. Why were they chosen as the faces of the brand? CEO and designer of RESOUND, Mr. Takeshi Umemoto (43), reveals the brand’s philosophy behind this decision.

“In the fall of ’20, we first chose Sosuke. Honestly, everyone around me strongly advised against it, saying it would tarnish our image. But the main premise was that we wanted cool guys to wear our clothes. For our brand image, we needed a man with allure and a mysterious aura. Those who have been criticized for scandals involving women could be seen as representatives of desirable men. Since that matches our model’s image, we naturally decided to use them.”


While most companies might hesitate to work with actors who have faced controversies, Mr. Umemoto has extended a helping hand to them. In October ’20, Ito announced a hiatus from his entertainment activities after being arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run. The following fall, he served as a model for RESOUND.


“We never received any complaints when they appeared, and instead, our sales have been on the rise. When we chose Kenta, I received a lot of DMs from fans on my personal Instagram saying, ‘Thank you for using Kenta.’ It was heartwarming.”

Mr. Umemoto used to work for the apparel department of the entertainment production company LDH. Later, he launched the brand Delay from Okayama, and about 8 years ago, he started his own company called Lisound. He has deep connections in the entertainment industry, having designed outfits worn by groups like SMAP on tour and outfits worn by Kis-My-Ft2 on their debut album. Mr. Umemoto is known for taking bold approaches in negotiating with suspended celebrities. 

“When contacting talents who are on hiatus, simply calling their agencies without any prior connection and saying ‘we want to hire you’ wouldn’t seem credible, would it? (laughs) So, I establish direct contact through acquaintances such as other celebrities or stylists, adding a layer of credibility.”

When I approached Mr. Higuchi, he was in the mountains.

“Mr. Higuchi’s agency responded that if he came down from the mountains, he’d be ready for the shoot. So, we arranged the shoot in Roppongi in spring ’23. He showed up in the same clothes he wore coming down from the mountains, but when he changed into the outfits, he looked completely different. He’s handsome and has a great personality. None of the talents we approached were unpleasant. The only one who was a bit late was Hiro from ‘MY FIRST STORY’ (laughs).”

The ability to consistently recruit actors who are going through delicate times is also related to Mr. Umemoto’s high reputation in the designer industry.


“When I was working with ‘Delay’ in Okayama, I designed what’s known as the ‘3D-processed, so-called living three-dimensional vintage jeans,’ and they sold over 10,000 pairs a year. There were even inquiries from well-known high-end brands overseas, asking to ‘imitate’ the jeans I designed. After that, I gained confidence that my designs could also be successful internationally.”


Even with Mr. Umemoto’s credentials, there have been instances where talents have turned down offers from him in the past. 


“It’s Mr. Sanma Akashiya (68). Since having all models from one side could be risky, I occasionally insert talents with no scandals (laughs). In two years, I hope to secure Mr. Hitoshi Matsumoto (60) for a project. I really want to make that offer.”


With such bold and fearless strategies, he seems poised to continue dominating the apparel industry even more in the future.

In 2020, there were reports of actor Erika Karata (26) and Higuchi having a three-year affair. He still maintains a secluded lifestyle in the mountains.
In October 2020, Ito collided with a motorcycle while driving a car. As a result, he had to withdraw or be replaced from several dramas and movies he was appearing in at the time.
A seasoned member of the former Johnny’s office, he has been linked to various scandals. In 2020, news of his affair with a woman 25 years younger surfaced.
Takaoka, who caused a stir in the public eye with his divorce from Aoi Miyazaki (38) and anti-Korean remarks, has been cast for the first time as a troublemaking actor.
Unpublished Photos: Mr. Takeshi Umemoto, the Maverick President of Osaka’s Apparel Industry, Reveals His Unconventional Business Philosophy of Using Scandalous Actors in Advertisements.
Exclusive: Unpublished Interview with Mr. Takeshi Umemoto, the Maverick President of Osaka’s Apparel Industry, Revealing His Unconventional Business Philosophy of Using Scandalous Actors in Advertisements.

From the May 31, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • Interview, text, and photography Kei Kato

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