The Okinawa Convention and Visitors Bureau (OCVB) along with the prefectural government have cancelled their plans to use space on women’s bare thighs for marketing the islands as a graduation trip destination to students outside the prefecture. Citing criticism, the two bodies stated, “Placing temporary tattoo-like stickers on the thighs of young women to advertise Okinawa is not in line with prefecture’s brand image.”
With “thigh advertising,” a new method of marketing gaining traction in Japan, young ladies wearing miniskirts or short shorts parade around town with promotional stickers placed on the area of exposed thigh showing between their skirt or short hem lines and knee socks — an area known in Japanese as “zettai ryoiki” or the “absolute territory”.
After the prefecture’s intentions were reported by the local Okinawa Times, government offices received numerous complaints criticizing the plan as “undignified” and “not an appropriate use of taxpayer money.” The prefecture followed up by instructing the contractor to find another approach.
When asked for a further explanation regarding the project’s cancellation, the prefecture’s tourism promotion section replied, “Though we believe it would prove to be instantaneously effective in marketing to young people, when looking at the image of the prefecture as a whole, the demerits are considerable.” The OCVB said, “As funding is coming from national government coffers, we decided it was not worth fighting those opposed.”
The OCVB was commissioned by the prefectural government to carry out part of a promotional project for spring tourism and was using lump sum subsidies provided to the prefecture by the national government. Part of the plan presented by the winning advertising agency included “thigh advertising.” A screening board consisting of four management-level personnel from the OCVB and prefectural government asked questions concerning what type of companies had employed this type of advertising to date, however, they failed to debate the pros and cons of implementing such a method.
We can imagine the brains of the screening board members were more than likely short-circuiting after viewing PowerPoint images provided by the advertising agency, and hey, as Japan’s continuing slide down the slippery slope of insolvency shows, bureaucrats here are very capable of coming up with novel ways of spending the taxpayers’ yen.
Source: Okinawa Times
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