It’s hard to imagine what the pitch was like for this commercial, "Kisses in Tokyo." Was it, “What if this British man went to Tokyo and hit on random women and then tried to kiss them!” Or maybe, “Sex sells, lets use it to sell this wearable language translator!” Either one sounds like a bad idea. But that's what the team over at ili, the brand behind the wearable translation device, went with. And subsequently, it was indeed a terrible idea. In the commercial, a young nice-looking guy from the U.K., named Dean, shows off his new tech toy called ili. It's pretty damn cool, actually. It's a small piece of wearable technology that translates anything he is saying into Japanese, instantly. All without an internet connection. Creepy Dean holds up the product, and announces he is going to "try and kiss girls that I've never met before using this translation device, ili."
Um, why? Why does that have anything to do with the product? And he does just that. He starts conversations with random groups of women, and then feeds them a pick-up line (via the white ili translator) and waits for their response. Most girls giggle and pay more attention to the device he's talking through than to him. One runs away, quite literally. Another smacks him away with her purse. He laughs each rejection off. One girl does kiss him, right at the end. But it just doesn't look right. He picks her up and holds onto her shoulders as he goes in for the kiss as she looks around hesitantly, then whispers, "No one's looking." Why so creepy, Creepy Dean?
Couldn't the commercial just be him asking for directions instead? In what city, country or continent is it entertaining, or okay, for a man to pick random women off the street and harass them? The technology behind the product is revolutionary and impressive — if you can bypass all of his cheesy pick-up tactics and focus on how awesome it is that he is communicating with these people instantly. However, the fact that a nod to cat-calling and sexual harassment even appears in this brand new commercial is pretty unsettling. It kind of reminds us of another guy who attempted to take advantage of women in foreign countries. It’s unclear if the video was meant to be offensive and shocking to get more views and publicity, but if it is real it’s gross. And a pretty poor cop-out just for clicks and shares. The product could change the way we communicate when abroad (just in China and Japan for now), but why couldn’t they just make a commercial called “Meeting New People In Tokyo In A Normal & Respectful Way To Women” instead?