Take our user survey and make your voice heard.

Japanese beer makers agree to stop putting 'gulping' sounds in their commercials

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japanese society has a decidedly positive attitude regarding alcohol. Aside from the adult beverages flowing freely at the numerous restaurants that offer all-you-can-drink plans, knocking back a few cold ones with coworkers and even workplace superiors has long been considered part of being a team player in the Japanese workforce.

However, that doesn’t mean that Japan is entirely blind to the potential health and safety risks posed by excessive or underage drinking. A collection of nine industry groups, including the Brewers Association of Japan (which includes beer makers Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo, Suntory and Orion) has begun enacting a new set of self-imposed advertising restrictions.

Among the most unusual is that for television and video ads, a “gulping” sound effect will no longer be allowed to accompany scenes of on-screen talent drinking the product.

While the rule will affect all types of alcoholic beverages, its primary impact will be on advertisements for beer and canned chu-hi (carbonated shochu cocktails), as sake, straight shochu, and other higher-alcohol drinks are generally shown being sipped, not gulped.

This new regulation is said to have come about after the Cabinet Office, part of the executive branch of Japan’s national government, expressed concern that the gulping sound effect, a common component of Japanese beer commercials, could cause mental distress in viewers with alcohol-dependency issues. Along with nixing the sound effect, the industry groups have also decided they will no longer show a close-up of the actor’s or actress’ throat while they are drinking the product.

Speaking of actors and actresses, the industry groups have elected to raise the minimum age of performers who can be featured in alcohol ads. Japan’s legal drinking age is 20, and previously, anyone who’d hit that milestone was fair game to appear in advertisements, and with Japan’s often youth-obsessed celebrity sphere, there was no shortage of candidates in their early 20s.

Moving forward, though, the industry groups say they’ll raise the minimum age to be in an alcohol ad to 25, a move which they hope will help prevent underage drinking. Asahi says that it even extended this guideline to background extras in a recent cherry blossom party-themed ad (cherry blossom parties being a prime time for drinking and also a popular mixer activity for college students, since cherry blossoms season comes shortly after the start of the Japanese school year).

Moreover, this 25-and-up age restriction isn’t just for real-life performers. Last year, Kirin found itself the target of complaints after it commissioned a series of anime ads for its Hyoketsu chuhi brand which showed characters presented as being in their early 20s drinking the beverage. Under the new regulations, though, that won’t be allowed; even 2-D characters must be 25 or older in the case of official designations.

Advertising has always sought to create appeal by drawing on popular trends and attitudes, and as such these new self-imposed regulations are merely one facet of the constantly changing social landscape marketers work in. That said, the loss of the gulping sound effect means that one of the beer industry’s favorite, tried-and-true techniques will be off limits to them, so spokesmodels and endorsers will probably want to start putting even more effort into developing their skills at letting out a satisfied “Ahhhhh!” after taking a swallow.

Source: Livedoor News/Shukan Post via Jin

-- New canned sakura liquor beverage appears in Japan, courtesy of Suntory 【Taste test】

-- Japanese alcohol company accused of advertising to children, pulls commercial off the air

-- Yogurt-flavored water?!? We try Suntory’s new beverage straight, mix it with booze 【Taste test】

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

An identical news item came out about three or four years ago.

Did it not take the first time around???

3 ( +3 / -0 )

About time. Its a mystery to me why anyone would find the disgusting noises people make when they're eating/drinking to be attractive.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Trying to hold down that whatever passes for beer here..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the "laugh track" is a much more disgusting noise than a gulp sound. I'll never understand how people watch any show that has it. And since we're on the subject, why do the karaoke shops offer the cheapest most disgusting beer for in their drink plans.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I will be glad if they actually stop the stupid sound effect, it is annoyingly vulgar. When I made those kind of noises at the dinner table as a kid I would always get a scolding, "you're a human being, not at pig, so stop acting like one." Once I retorted "stop acting like a human being"? I thought it was funny, but what happened afterwards was anything but...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They should stop the comical over-reactions once they've tasted the stuff too. The actors always look as if they're finally able to go to the toilet after keeping it in for too long, or as they've just been kneed in the groin.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Finally! Now, if we could just stop all of the other commercials ending is mass dance routines with inane dittys and  someone invariably dressed in an animal costume, we'd be making progress. Wouldn't be Japan then though, would it...?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The girls who run to the water's edge and shout umiiiiiiii bother me more for some reason. It makes no sense whatsoever to do it, and is unrelated to the product being advertised.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Next thing you is politically overcorrect companies will stop ramen slurping sound.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

RarePepe: That's a good point: we should think of the people with wheat allergies who are caused mental distress by ramen commercials. It's an outrage.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It causes mental distress in anyone who isn't a middle aged man with bad eating/drinking habits.

Gulping beer on TV commercials ranks in at only slightly less annoying than people who slurp or inhale their gyudon.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

When I first arrive in Japan, I remember seeing a women in a beer avert. This was a rarity in Australia. I can remember this avert had a Kawaii standing under a blooming sakura in the mid morning sun taking a polite mouthful of Sapporo best. Straight away I imagined a Australian version if targeting this same consumer group. I could imagine witnessing a female road-train truckie, donning a faded blue wife-beater, wiping away spillage from her hairy chin with her tattoo laden forearm accompanying a hard earn massive burp. Yes I would with gulping any day.


0 ( +1 / -1 )

Without the sound effect of gulping, industries of alcohol couldn't express "Nodogoshi" of its products, though I can't understand merit of gulping beer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites