SINGAPORE (Nov 19): SoftBank Group Corp’s underwriters are embracing an unusual TV marketing campaign to make sure that investors — especially individuals of all ages — will flock to what may be Japan’s biggest-ever IPO.

A 30-second TV spot shows a multigenerational family with antennas on their heads. While eating breakfast, the appendages blink, alerting them to the ¥2.6 trillion ($31.6 billion) market debut of SoftBank’s Japanese telecommunications business. The ad will run through Nov 30, when the share price range will be set, say people with knowledge of the matter. Founder Masayoshi Son needs the IPO to succeed so that he can push forward with his plan to transform SoftBank into a global technology investment company via the US$100 billion ($137.6 billion) Vision Fund. The sheer size of the listing is a challenge, given the fact that only 11% of Japan’s total household assets of US$16.3 trillion are held as stocks. The commercial shows that the underwriters are looking to attract new retail investors, says Kazumi Tanaka, an IPO analyst at DZH Financial Research in Tokyo.

“Attracting new customers is usually difficult, but the underwriters are taking advantage of SoftBank’s well-known brand to attract new money and new accounts,” Tanaka says. “This will also help support the shares after the IPO.” The commercials are a nod to SoftBank’s eclectic spots for its wireless services. They usually feature a human family, except that the father is a Shiba dog that delivers a punchline. To comply with securities laws, the ads for the IPO are being paid for and run by the banks, and not the issuer, SoftBank.

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