February 2, 2010

Japanese Shaving Commercials: Extreme or Just Extremely Weird?

kiretenai.jpgJapanese pop and media culture is baffling to most of us, maybe because we're most often exposed to the weirdness, and not the everyday experience. Late night overdubbed Japanese game shows give us the impression that perhaps everything in Japan is very bizarre, and then YouTube confirms it. So I guess it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that companies marketing to the Japanese people are also using very strange messages to sell their products.

Here's a set of ads for Schick Protectors III, complete with spandex, that will leave you just shaking your head (and Google Translate version of the title beneath each):

"Over 4000m Chapter"

"Square Jungle Hen"

"Hen Rodeomashin"

"Blackbeard the Big Hen"

"Fear! Hen Courage"

Here's the homepage: Kiretenai

I'm stumped. These commercials really sell razors? Can someone please explain this to me? Or at least translate "kirete-nai"?

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Posted by Derek Markham at February 2, 2010 12:55 PM
Recent Comments

I would love it to see such commercials at the Flemish TV. Our commercials are too bored compared to this. xD

Posted by: Ellen at June 18, 2010 7:13 AM

Basically, what those TV ads want to say is no matter how you shave, you won't cut your face. The conventional shavers would cut your face when you shave side to side motion, you must shave up to down motion. They basically want to say Schick Protectors III is the safest shavers around.

Posted by: Tatsuya at June 11, 2010 8:54 AM

Geoffrey -

Thanks for your comment! Sorry if it sounded like I was making fun of the series, but to the average American (me), the videos don't make much sense. I think I understand a bit better now. Cheers!

Posted by: Derek Markham at February 6, 2010 9:09 AM

Glad some of you like them. I am the Marketing Manager who made the commercials at Schick Japan. We made them with a couple of references in mind. 1)"Kirtenai" (no nicks and cuts) is an established catch phrase to summarize the benefit Protector's micorsafety wires provide; we ran the "kiritenai" campaign in TV and in-store for a decade so everyone in Japan knows it. We often used K1 martial arts fighters to dramatize the "no cut" scene. But we stopped supporting the Protector business about 5 years ago when we launched Quattro. We wanted to revitalize the Protector brand this year and so building off the "Kiritenai" equity we already had made sense.
2) we realized that most of our Protector users were now in their 40s and 50s but that if we could refresh the brand's image with a new red razor and these edgy spots we could attract young shavers as well because when you first start shaving you are looking for a razor that is easy to use, you don't have to worry about cutting yourself and has a reasonable price. That was Protector in a nutshell! So the "kiritenai" idea worked for these guys but we needed to refresh it for an 18-24 year old target
3) we wanted an edge so that people would share it by word of mouth. Our core 18-24 year old target is heavily into digital communication so this kind of over the top "kiritenai" viral made sense.

Have our sales gone up? Well the spots just broke and the new product is in market from January (in Japan only by the way), but so far results have been pretty satisfying. And if it goes well...I suspect you will see us create more crazy "kiritenai" spots in the future.

Posted by: Geoffrey at February 6, 2010 3:08 AM

Aah... That makes a bit more sense to me. Thanks!

Posted by: Derek Markham at February 4, 2010 11:33 AM

Answer from the creator.
Those are real Web-CM by Schick.
"kirete-nai" is like..."No accidental scratch."

Posted by: Oshiro at February 4, 2010 4:00 AM

Love the commercials! I work at the The Shave of Beverly hills barber shop! I shave a lot of people, but never this extreme maybe one day I will have the chance to experience some extreme shaves.Thank you

Posted by: steve gonzalez at February 3, 2010 11:21 AM
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