It’s not too often that we here at MikuFan will offer our criticism on a particular topic, but we do when we feel it’s well-placed and justified. And in the case of Goodsmile Racing and their Personal Sponsors program, we feel there’s issues that need to be addressed.
Starting in 2012, Goodsmile Racing opened their personal sponsors program to overseas applicants, and this year marks the 7th year since they allowed this change. And this year also happens to mark the first time that I (the writer of this article) pledged the top Figma course of 70,000 Yen in the overseas personal sponsors. You can see MikuFan.com’s name on the overseas sponsors list as a result of that pledge: http://www.goodsmileracing.com/sponsors/user_data/sponsor_list_en.php
It always bothered me a little that they separated overseas and domestic sponsors to different lists, but I accepted that. However, I was naturally also very much looking forward to the personal sponsor benefits, and reviewing them for our followers.
Sure enough, the green personal sponsors card arrived, along with the acrylic keychain and ticket holder. But I remembered something about Goodsmile Racing offering additional benefits, such as different colored cards depending on the tier you pledged, or amount pledged over time on qualifying goods. And sure enough when double checking, I was right.
Not only that, there was a very large list of goods available only to Japanese sponsors, and not overseas sponsors. The cards were only the tip of the iceberg. Here’s the physical items excluded from overseas sponsors and their required tiers:
Gold Card – 50,001 Yen or more
Platinum Card – 100,001 Yen or more
Black Card – 300,001 Yen or More
Sponsors Pin Badge – 3,000 Yen
Can Badge Voucher (redeem at circuit) – 3,001 Yen or more
Original Sponsors business Cards – 5,000 Yen
Clear File – 50,001 Yen or more
Rucksack – 300,001 Yen or more
There’s even more benefits offered, such as chances to be a GSR staff member for the day at the race circuit, a turn at waving the team racing flag, and more. All of which are excluded from the overseas sponsors page. I can see the benefits for 300,001 Yen or higher being excluded from the overseas page, since no options higher than 70,000 are offered (an issue in itself, but not the issue right now). But GSR, in theory, should have no reason financially or logistically to deny their overseas sponsors the benefits up to the 50,001 Yen tier. I sent GSR an email inquiring simply about the gold card, since I was a 70,000 Yen sponsor, and this was their response:
Thank you for contacting us.
We’re very sorry, but the Personal Sponsors Ranking System is currently not available for our international sponsors.
We’re very sorry for any inconvenience and hope for your patience and understanding.
Goodsmile Racing Customer Support
Simply put, if you don’t live in Japan, you’re not entitled to the same benefits as the sponsors living within Japan. Even though overseas sponsors pay the exact same amount (actually more, since we have higher shipping costs!) for personal sponsors and the benefits, GSR thinks its perfectly fine to give us less. Unequal treatment of their sponsors is perfectly acceptable.
In the 7 years of accepting personal sponsor applications from overseas, they couldn’t find a way to make benefits equal to everyone? I find that simply unacceptable. Based on this, GSR had two different ways to prevent this problem, rather than segregating their sponsors:
– Not opening personal sponsors overseas at all (worst option)
– Not offering Japan-only exclusives until they figure out how to make benefits equal for everyone (best option)
Due to Goodsmile racing’s current stance in treating their sponsors unfairly, we can no longer recommend overseas sponsors using the English version of GSR’s sponsors website. Instead, we recommend sponsors register accounts and pledge their sponsorships on the Japanese Goodsmile Racing Personal Sponsors website.
Japanese Personal Sponsors page: http://www.goodsmileracing.com/sponsor/personal/
Simply set up an account on the Japanese site, and set your address to either a proxy service, or the home of a friend if you have one, to finally enjoy equal benefits.
Of course, there’s likely to be fans that would like to pitch their pledge and show their support for GSR, no matter what the benefits in return would be. And that’s okay. However, we feel GSR’s diverse and unequal treatment of their sponsors is not okay. And the fans in Japan I’ve spoken to also agree. To quote one friend and sponsor from Japan:
“As long as we are recruiting sponsors from overseas, everyone has the right to equality. I strongly tell you that the feeling of supporting Racing Miku is common to all the world.”
We hope Goodsmile Racing will take this feedback into consideration and fix their system sooner rather than later.