The message is accurate, but that doesn’t mean it’s right, critics say.


After a long, hard day at work, many Japanese people make a stop at the convenience store on their way home and walk towards the cooler cases in the back. Waiting for them there is a large selection of beer, sake, and canned cocktails, all potential rewards for completing another day of adult responsibilities.

But while Japan is pretty accepting of cracking open a cold one to enjoy as you unwind, Twitter user @k_l_c_y came across one shop that he thinks went too far in its booze marketing.

The piece of paper, taped to the cooler case in front of shelves of Strong Zero chu-his (canned carbonated cocktails of shochu and fruit juice, with an alcohol content of 9 percent), is split into two halves. On the top, we see a man surrounded by a variety of words written in Japanese, all of which become blurry on the bottom half after he starts drinking his Strong Zero.

So, just what are those words that are fading away?
● Finding a job (就職)
● Marriage (結婚)
● Fatty liver (脂肪肝)
● Low salary (低賃金)
● Untrustworthy government (政治不信)
● Worries about the future (将来の不安)
● Collapse of lifetime employment system (終身雇用の崩壊)
● Stressful society (ストレス社会)
● Stuck in a rut (閉塞感)
● Social security system problems (年金問題)
● Life after retirement (老後)

It’s a bold marketing tactic. Rather than the typical beer ad tactic of “Your life will be so awesome if you drink this!” the Strong Zero promotion is here to essentially say “You know what? Your life stinks, and the best way to deal with your significant problems is to drink until you can’t feel them anymore.”

There’s at least a bit of a silver lining in that the mini-poster (which isn’t an official Strong Zero ad, and appears to have been made by this individual store’s staff) at least doesn’t seem to be implying that the guy in the illustrations currently has all of these problems, since it alludes to the mutually exclusive problems of having a low salary and having no job. Still, @k_l_c_y tweeted “This isn’t the sort of thing you should hang up in a convenience store,” along with the photo, and several online commenters agree with him:

“Dude, if you’ve got problems like that, it’s really not the time to be getting liquored up!”
“Guy’s totally gonna develop a drinking problem.”
“Promoting alcoholism.”
“Sort of worried about public safety in that store’s neighborhood.”
“Whoever made the poster has something wrong with them. Still love that Strong Zero though!”

Then there was the commenter who noticed the poster was made with drawings from Illust-ya, one of Japan’s most popular online free art resources, and decided to use the same site to create a proposed third panel for the poster.

That said, it’s worth keeping in mind that exactly because the problems that are shown fading away in the poster are so big, there’re not the sort you can solve in a day. There’s only so long the human mind can focus intently on negative things before it snaps, and giving your brain and nerves a break now and again is an critical part of mental health. For example, if you’re between jobs and just spent the last several hours sifting through want ads and sending out resumes, you might be at the limit of what you can do in a day, and rather than staring at your email inbox intently until you get a response, there’s nothing wrong with choosing to have a drink at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, the poster doesn’t provide any context to the effect of “I’ve done all I can for now, so it’s time to relax and recharge.” Instead, it comes off seeming like “Well, time to start drinking” is an acceptable first response to the serious issues it lists, which really isn’t the best response, since once you sober up, all those problems will still be there, and more in focus than ever.

Source: Twitter/@Temarin_PITA via Otakomu
Featured image: Twitter/@Temarin_PITA