Pantene has launched a new ad campaign in Japan -- and it addresses the societal norm of most Japanese women having the same hairstyle during the job-hunting process.
The ad campaign is based on a survey of 1,000 university students, and aims to inspire job-hunting students to more freely express who they really are with confidence -- and "make their hair beautiful."
The students' "real intentions" were used to create mosaic art, which was showcased in the ads. The advertisement is carried on newspapers and at railway stations, including on hanging straps on trains, while its video version is here on YouTube.
Yoshiaki Okura, brand manager, Pantene Japan comments, "I feel that people in Japan tend to be trapped by stereotypical views on how women should behave, although such a situation has been improving in recent years, and that such views are reflected in students' behavior in their job-hunting activities."
Okura continues, "Pantene is listening to what job-hunting students have to say...Pantene hopes to help create a society in which both students and companies can work toward their goals while allowing students to show what they really are with confidence, including their clothes and hairstyles."
More About the Issue & Survey Results
The team at Pantene learned from the survey that Japanese women face a serious challenge regarding their hairstyles. There are regulations on hairstyles and dress standards for various occasions -- and women are judged by their appearances.
Japanese people are apt to avoid being out of place by following such rules, which is a customary practice deep rooted in Japan's culture.
Such a strange custom of valuing uniformity is clearly reflected in Japanese students' job-hunting activities. In particular, women tend to adopt standardized styles of clothes and hairstyles during job interviews.
Specifically, they typically adjust their skirts to be of the same length as those of other students, put their hair together in a ponytail and pull their hair tightly back in accordance with the custom of valuing uniformity. They try to look similar as other applicants and suppress their individuality.
According to the survey, 81% of the respondents compromised themselves to appeal to employers during job interviews, and 70% were dissatisfied with the way they were dressed and their hairstyles for job interviews.
The survey showed that many of the respondents hid the natural beauty of their own hair during job interviews. At the same time, 71% of companies that were also covered by the survey agree to the idea that applicants should show their individuality during job interviews through the way they are dressed as well as their hairstyles, highlighting a perception gap between companies and students.
Photo: courtesy of Procter & Gamble Japan K.K.