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Asahi Beer abolishes 'image girl' spokesmodel position, ending practice at big four brewers

40 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Asahi Super Dry has been on sale for 35 years, and for most of that time it’s been Japan’s best-selling brew. In January, though, Asahi revealed that it was changing the beer’s recipe for the first time in its history, and now comes a big change in its marketing.

Since Asahi Super Dry launched in 1987, the company has employed an annual “image girl” to serve as a spokesmodel for the year. The image girl is generally an up-and-coming model/actress, and some, such as Norika Fujiwara, went on to major stardom in the entertainment industry. Asahi has now announced, though, that it will be abolishing the image girl part of its marketing.

▼ The first Asahi Super Dry image girl, Tomoko Yamaguchi, can be seen on the left.

Screen-Shot-2022-07-28-at-11.31.47.png

Though not a dedicated swimwear modeling gig, the image girls did feature predominantly in Super Dry’s ad campaigns in the summer, when demand for beer is highest and competition fiercest, which involved posing in various seasonal and seaside fashions, swimsuits included.

▼ Left: 2003 image girl Aki Higashihara

Right: 1998 image girl Reiko Kojima

Screen-Shot-2022-07-28-at-11.32.37.png

▼ 2018 image girl Riho Asaka

Screen-Shot-2022-07-28-at-11.33.22.png

With the coronavirus pandemic not hitting Japan in earnest until a few months into 2020, Riho Takada still served as image girl for the year. By the time 2021 rolled around, though, pandemic protocols and social distancing recommendations were making the photo shoots and in-person promotional appearances associated with the position increasingy difficult to coordinate, and for the first time since Asahi Super Dry went on the market, the brand had no image girl. That’s now going to be the permanent situation, as Asahi has said “We have made a comprehensive decision to abolish [the image girl position],” without further clarification on the specific reasons why at this point.

▼ Riho Takada, the 34th, and final, Asahi Beer image girl.

Screen-Shot-2022-07-28-at-11.34.28.png

Though Asahi wasn’t the only Japanese beer producer to employ an image girl, its rivals, Kirin, Suntory, and Sapporo, had already discontinued the marketing strategy, and so with Asahi joining them, none of Japan’s four major breweries will have an image girl any longer.

Source: Abema Times via Livedoor News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- We try “The Dream,” Asahi’s new, purportedly “perfect” beer【Taste Test】

-- Asahi Super Dry’s draft beer in a can, the Nama Jockey Can, is here【Taste test】

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments

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Where's the fun?? Loved the pretty girl beer ads.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

Who is Kardashian and James Charles? Do they live here in Japan or do they make ads here?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Now it will be salarymen in suits advertising the beer. It’s just a different type of prejudice. The whole thing is getting out of hand.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

painkiller

And I was able to date one of the Asahi models back in the day (will not disclose they year), and the opportunities opened (up for the model) after that.

Hope you controlled your male urges.

I refuse to drink Japanese beer from now on.

All beer or just Asahi.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I guess it is more of a business decision that the company does not need the expense of models to sell their beer.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

wondering why this is "newsworthy"?

btw there are better beer options in Japan than super dry...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Excellent point. And I was able to date one of the Asahi models back in the day (will not disclose they year), and the opportunities opened (up for the model) after that. 

I refuse to drink Japanese beer from now on.

Cancel culture and fairy tales. Made my day

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Woke, political correctness, cancel culture or whatever you want to call it, taints everything it touches.

2 ( +16 / -14 )

Use a Mormon with a can of beer.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

If you don't know, then I don't know what rock you have been living under.

Hope you are more polite to your Japanese customers than you are here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Times change, and not necessarily for the better.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

My heart is broken.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Whether you think it’s “woke” or not, at the very least this kind of advertising is going extinct at a rapid rate. To persist with it makes a company’s image look outdated, and the last thing a company in a competitive market wants is for its image, and its products, to look like they’re not keeping up with the rest of the market - or the consumers.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

girl_in_tokyo

Today 12:30 pm JST

Wow, just look at all the men whining because this one company won't provide them with girls' boobs to look at anymore

You should educate yourself before saying it is men.

The most affected by this stuff are women.

These were good paying jobs and just because some not pretty women cannot get these jobs, their goal was to ruin it for the others out of jealousy.

The number of women that called my sister every name in the book because she was a beautiful and a model making good money while in university was unbelievable.

They would have preferred she struggle at minimum wage in McDonald's than make tens of thousands of dollars more for minimal work, looking pretty.

My son is talented but his talent only gets him so far in auditions and sorry folks but his looks get him over the top in many cases.

This is reality and the not handsome not pretty hate this fact.

My sister worked as a model, my 3 cousins (2 girls and 1 boy) did also, my son models and acts.

The only thing I would have been good to model would be a car crash victim and I honestly couldn't care less.

You and others are imposing your views on the rest, the ending of this isn't because it isn't working anymore it is because they feel that people like you will cause trouble on social media etc... beyond your true numbers.

Look at me, in Japan I am a respected Japan art craftsman, no one has ever said anything that I am not ethnic Japanese.

But now I had to shut my website and sales sites overseas because certain groups in western countries have come after me accusing me of cultural appropriations! I live and work in Japan no actual Japanese has a problem with me, my master was Japanese.

But a small group of non Japanese have made my life miserable.

And it is similar radical groups that these beer companies are trying to avoid causing them problems, it isn't the customers demanding change.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

painkiller

I think the decision was to reduce the costs of ads more than anything about stopping with young models.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Can drag queens pitching our favorite beers be far behind? Hope this go-woke stuff never makes it to baseball stadiums. The cuties slinging brew there are treasures.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Can drag queens pitching our favorite beers be far behind?

Maybe. If it's an effective marketing strategy that drive sales, it will likely catch as a marketing strategy. The young folk these days, with the purchasing power, do seem to place a lot of priority on diversity and inclusion, so it could well be an effective marketing campaign. Or, maybe it won't drive sales in any measurable number, and they'll stop doing it. Basically how all marketing works.

Hope this go-woke stuff never makes it to baseball stadiums. The cuties slinging brew there are treasures.

Why would they stop hiring girls to sell beer at baseball?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

P.S., if I’m not mistaken, a lot of those modeling shots were done in Okinawa, an excellent tourist booster, oh well.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

It is a bit tacky. No great loss. I doubt it’ll put any dent in sales.

The anti-woke crowd will throw their toys out of the pram it but that’s about it.

Storm in a C cup.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

So you don't like the fact these women can make more money, because you don't or can't do the same so take way their jobs.

No, it is irrelevant for me that they do it, I am just saying that this is the extent of what is lost, not much more than a lost opportunity for them. Not exactly a change that will make a culture poorer or anything like that. After all it is not like there are no other places where they can still do it, social media being a very popular outlet.

Yes believe it or not there actually are people that believe your work is a waste and that "God" is the only way/choice.

And they would be free to do it, there is nothing wrong with that. This is quite obvious.

How would you like it if they imposed their views on you?

How exactly I am imposing my views here? do you think expressing an opinion always means imposing it?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Beautiful girls are, err, beautiful, and therefore they make the picture, err, beautiful. So now Asahi and the other beer brands are therefore saying they don't want their beers to appear in beautiful photos. Great idea. Let's make the world as ugly as possible. Yeah, that's progress, right?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Not must of a beer person, having said, from time to time I like a cold one, I'm sure the 'image girl' spokesmodel is a distraction from the fact the tides gone out filling up the tankard, I want a full glass, not a white "tash" on my first glug.

My favourite beer UK is Abbot Ale, a pint glass full up to the brim.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

You and others are imposing your views on the rest, the ending of this isn't because it isn't working anymore it is because they feel that people like you will cause trouble on social media etc... beyond your true numbers.

Do you have any evidence of this? that is an accusation that you can only make when having evidence of what you say. In reality it can simply be because it is no longer popular, the same as many other things that now are seen old and unnecessary. Again, expressing an opinion and imposing it are two completely different things, even if you don't like those opinions.

So now Asahi and the other beer brands are therefore saying they don't want their beers to appear in beautiful photos

That is a non-sequitur, like saying girls are human beings, so now the brands don't their beers to appear in pictures with humans. There are a lot of things they companies can still use to promote their beers that people can consider beautiful.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Tried Asahi once in 1998 and never touched it again, Suntory is good enough for me.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Having trampled upon womenomics by reducing female employment in Japan, the least they could do is replace them with an anime version of someone who really, really embraced the true spirit of alcohol. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=815Id8Mabe8

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I didn't know so many people based their beer preferences on a picture of a half naked woman. 

Consider yourself enlightened ;-)

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I didn't know so many people based their beer preferences on a picture of a half naked woman. You do know theres millions of naked women on the internet right? You can drink whatever beer tastes best to you, right?

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

Though Asahi wasn’t the only Japanese beer producer to employ an image girl, its rivals, Kirin, Suntory, and Sapporo, had already discontinued the marketing strategy, and so with Asahi joining them, none of Japan’s four major breweries will have an image girl any longer.

Incredible wokeness here at play.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Wow, just look at all the men whining because this one company won't provide them with girls' boobs to look at anymore.

Shhhh... don't tell them the internet is full of porn. I'm rather enjoying their panic at what they seem to think is not getting to see any more boobs, again, ever.

-4 ( +10 / -14 )

The fake modern world, living in the fantasy that by blocking these women from our view and denying them work we are somehow going to not look at beautiful people men and women differently than people who are not beautiful.

The phony narrative that this beautiful/handsome obsession is something pushed by the modern world is a joke and the fact so many believe it is a sad reflection on our education system.

As far back as the Egyptian, Babylonian, Romans humans has aspired to be beautiful/handsome.

The Romans creating statues with the best "bodies" and just changing the head making everything emperor or general better looking and better built than, in reality, the same for their wives and empresses to the point of making coins and statues that were "in fashion" making sure they had the latest fashion on a coin or a statue was modified to be more in fashion.

The Egyptian Pharoahs were so inbred that none of their portraits or statues even come close to what the actually look like.

Beautiful, tall handsome, etc...

The Beauty of Cleopatra! Go see what she more likely looked like Tutankhamun see the Egyptian portraits and his mask then see the clubfoot, overbite, disease ridden reconstruction of his more accurate rendering by science.

What is wrong with today's society, we shame the promotion of beauty, then celebrate obesity by calling it "body positivite", we tell our girls it is wrong to try and be pretty but our boy to wear skirts instead of short .

The top "makeup" YouTube channels are all men (or transgender I am not 100% sure what of the 70+ genders they "identify" as).

But if a woman does what these guys are doing she will be shamed.

And now you know why the fastest growing religions are all hardline men are men women are women type, those joining these ultra conservative religions both men and women say it is because that way they are left alone because the one taboo still left is going after religious beliefs.

Sad world we are building

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

The same people that will complain about this type of add will then go out and buy some health drink promoted my a Kardashian or praise Someone like James Charles for being a "positive influence" on today's youth.

When in reality the Kardashian doesn't use the drink and James, etc.. are mostly self-centered egomaniacs trying to exploit as many young people as they can.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Well, wouldn’t you know it.

Not only are you ruining a very good platform for attractive women to jump start their careers, but you have altered the recipe of the only Japanese beer I have continually drank, for over 35 years, whenever I am in Japan.

Say goodbye to a lot of your loyal customers, not because of the girl.

Why am I not surprised ?

-5 ( +9 / -14 )

So next wil be androgynous image person?

Ah following the west.

What next?

Will Japanese schools follow the UK school during heatwaves and tell the boys to wear skirts as shorts are not permitted ( note during previous heatwaves my children were permitted in Japan to wear their gym clothes including the shorts in Japan public school)

https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/27/norfolk-school-tells-boys-they-can-wear-skirts-but-not-shorts-16900825/amp/

I wonder if those pushing all this understand they are destroying a usually well paying job for some women.

Yes I know it anger is not pretty women that they can't do the same but that's life.

I couldn't have made it as a model male or otherwise I just am not that good looking.

My sister on the other hand was making more money as a part-time model while going to university then I was as a full-time worker.

I never got jealous or angry more power to her she could do it.

This is more political correctness gone wrong

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

The models, are they selling beer, or are they selling sex? Drink their beer and women like that appear. The two images don't actually relate. The models are exploited and dopped. They are gig economy jobs with fees to agencies.

The majority of women don't look like the ad models and that in itself causes problems for other women. Young girls trying to become an image instead of themselves.

If there is no problem with using female models in unrelated ads why only the young, slim, and attractive? I don't the beer ad with a 50-year woman holding a glass of cold beer.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

AntiquesavingToday  12:53 pm JST

You should educate yourself before saying it is men.

The most affected by this stuff are women.

These were good paying jobs and just because some not pretty women cannot get these jobs, their goal was to ruin it for the others out of jealousy.

Excellent point. And I was able to date one of the Asahi models back in the day (will not disclose they year), and the opportunities opened (up for the model) after that.

I refuse to drink Japanese beer from now on.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

StarbucksToday  01:20 pm JST

Cancel culture and fairy tales. Made my day

Oh, you don't know what it is like to be a foreign male in Japan?

WA4TKGToday  07:59 am JST

P.S., if I’m not mistaken, a lot of those modeling shots were done in Okinawa, 

Yep.

RedstormToday  01:26 pm JST

I refuse to drink Japanese beer from now on.

All beer or just Asahi.

Neither--see my immediate above comment.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Not much is lost, girls will not longer have this chance of a big contract just because they look pretty or sexy but for the public in general this no longer have the appeal it had before, cultures change and (hopefully) improve.

-7 ( +9 / -16 )

Redstorm

Today 01:39 pm JST

Who is Kardashian and James Charles? Do they live here in Japan or do they make ads here?

If you don't know, then I don't know what rock you have been living under.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

RedstormToday  01:57 pm JST

I guess it is more of a business decision that the company does not need the expense of models to sell their beer.

That would be only a guess based in the article:

 Asahi has said “We have made a comprehensive decision to abolish [the image girl position],” without further clarification on the specific reasons why at this point.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Not much is lost, girls will not longer have this chance of a big contract just because they look pretty or sexy

So you don't like the fact these women can make more money, because you don't or can't do the same so take way their jobs.

Ok how would you like it if some religious group the only believes in faith healing got enough power to shut down research into viruses and medical issues putting you out of a job?

Yes believe it or not there actually are people that believe your work is a waste and that "God" is the only way/choice.

How would you like it if they imposed their views on you?

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

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