Ili, a wearable device that translates speech in real time, was marketed earlier this year using a video that showed one man’s attempt to kiss supposed Japanese strangers.
Titled, ‘Kisses in Tokyo’, the advert’s synopsis describes how ‘Dean, who is from the UK and doesn't speak Japanese, uses ili to communicate with Japanese women whom he has never met before to ask for a kiss'.
The advert caused outrage amongst viewers who branded it ‘creepy’, ‘inappropriate’ and even as ‘sexual harassment’.
Finally a comprehensive translation tool from English to Japanese. Shame such a terrible and inappropriate advert...https://t.co/MH6Y1u2nHj— AsianRecruiter (@ASIANRECRUITER) January 8, 2016
I too am outraged by the ad for the ili wearable translator. I won't tweet link though, because that is exactly what their PR wants me to do— Angela Barnes (@AngelaBarnes) January 7, 2016
Those doubtful of the advert’s authenticity were proved right after Logbar’s CEO Takuro Yoshida revealed to BBC Trending that the whole thing was staged.
"The promotional video in question was created with an intention to showcase the effectiveness of the translation device. The women are all actresses and were instructed to act the way they did. No one was forced to do anything against their will."
Commercials: Bad taste, good advertisement?
Some have recognised a potential link to a controversial video made by ‘pick-up artist’ Julien Blanc, where he tells viewers "In Tokyo, if you're a white male, you can do what you want," before proceeding to grab Japanese women in public.
The provocative marketing strategy continues to attract attention to the innovative product, as the video has now been viewed over five million times.