Winter is not just coming, it has arrived. The nights are cold and Japanese homes with their relatively poor insulation are no warmer than a popsicle fresh from the freezer. Fortunately, that also means Uniqlo is delivering their latest line of warm wear.

With everything from fleece sweaters to cashmere knits, you can always count on the Japanese clothing company to keep you warm for a reasonable price. You can also count on their stylish commercials to appear like clockwork each winter to announce their latest and greatest.

But a recent rediscovery of two 20-year-old Uniqlo commercials has left us shocked–and howling with laughter!


Back in the day, when Uniqlo wasn’t the international brand it is today, they had an incredibly lax returns policy: You could return anything, no questions asked. We wouldn’t recommend trying that today, but we imagine that sort of open policy must have helped the store grow to its current place in the Japanese market.

But having lax rules about returns doesn’t mean anything if people don’t know about it. Which means that Uniqlo needed an eye-catching, memorable media campaign to get the word out. And they certainly pulled it off with these commercials!

The first one stars an Osaka obachan (older woman) bustling up to a Uniqlo counter as shoppers mill around in the background. Talking in her fast Osaka dialect, she tells the off-camera staff, “Excuse me, sir, please exchange these clothes for me. These clothes are too old-lady-like for me, you see. So, just exchange them for me, okay? Just exchange them really quickly. I’m gonna go look around and be right back.” As she chatters at a machine-gun rate, the older lady proceeds to…well, you’ll just have to watch it!

And this woman isn’t alone! Here’s another commercial staring an older man who’s in just as much of a rush to get his clothes exchanged. As he marches up to the counter, the off-camera staff welcome him to the store just before the lively gentleman rips off his shirt and pants, repeating over and over, “I got this yesterday, but I really want you to exchange it for me. I really, really want you to exchange this! I really, really, really want you to exchange this for me!”

Okay, that’s enough naked middle-aged people for one day, right? We don’t want to leave you traumatized or anything.

Finally, in case you haven’t seen any of the newer commercials, here’s one for November. It’s almost like something you might expect from Gap…kind of cool but also kind of “meh”.

While it may be a bit hipper and way more fashionable, we can’t help thinking they should go back to the old commercials. They might not be as stylish, but they were far more awesome!

After all, who doesn’t like a store with a sense of humor? Though maybe it wouldn’t hurt to get someone a little younger and sexier. We bet Mr. Sato would be great!
[ Read in Japanese ]