Their reactions are very different in alternate version with handsomer guy, though.

Earlier this month Lohas Pharmaceutical Company launched a new advertising campaign for its Alface line of facial skin treatment masks. As with just about all cosmetics products, Alface masks are sold under the pretense that they’ll make the user’s life better in some way, such as instilling a greater feeling of confidence by making her more attractive.

However, one of the new Alface commercials, in the ostensible interest of full disclosure, also reveals a potential downside to using the product: it might also result in the user getting more attention from ugly men!

The ad opens with a young women sashaying down the sidewalk while carrying a bag of groceries, when out spills a single red apple. The errant fruit rolls downhill, until it’s stopped and picked up by a man who was headed in the opposite direction. But as the camera pans up, the shocking truth is revealed, as we learn that the shopper’s savior isn’t a devastatingly dashing handsome hottie…

…but instead a guy who, to put it diplomatically, probably isn’t going to be gracing the cover of a fashion magazine anytime soon.

The woman, who’d been scampering after the apple, suddenly finds herself face-to-face with the man, which causes her to recoil in revulsion.

At this point, the real star of the commercial makes her appearance, as an unrelated woman walks up from behind the shopper and, as she passes her, also physically reacts to, seemingly by her judgement, the hideous goblin of a man, who’s still holding the apple.

Then, in perhaps the weirdest moment of the video, the man suddenly extends his hand and gives the shopper’s apple to the other woman, who awkwardly accepts it before hurrying on her way, as the narrator tells us “Sometimes, beauty can cause problems.” The commercial holds that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, tough, as it closes out with the apple’s recipient facing the camera and telling us, “But even still, I’m using Alface!”

And just to drive home the fact that the women’s reactions are based on the man’s looks, another Alface ad starts with the same scenario, but subs in a stereotypically handsome man, whose looks put smiles on the faces of both women.

▼ The tagline for this one is “Beauty makes people waver.”

There’s even an alternate ending version where the Alface user decides that she will accept the apple, walking off with the piece of produce she almost certainly saw fall out of the other woman’s bag just a few seconds ago.

▼ Tagline: “You never know when your chance will come.”

The ads, especially the first, have led to a flurry of critical online comments about the ad, such as:

“It’s creepy how you can practically see the smirks on the faces of the shitty people who made this ad.”
“People are free to think whatever they want, but it’s pretty bold to just go out and say it like this.”
“Reverse the genders, and women would be up in arms.”
“I’d have no complaints if they got boycotted.”
“If someone did this to me, would it be OK for me to squash the apple?”
“Dude, it’s wrong to just go giving someone else’s apple away like that.”

While Japanese society can be pretty unabashed in expressing a preference for classically good-looking men and women (and an aversion to the opposite), most marketers aren’t quite this on-the-nose about it. It’s possible the blunt approach will lead to a dip in sales for Alface, or perhaps demand will soar as thrifty women come to the conclusion that by using the facial masks, they can cut their grocery bills in half by accepting the forthcoming foodstuff gifts from random men on the street.

Source: Jin, Otakomu
Images: YouTube/ロハス製薬