Japanese take marketing to a new level for a health drink

There is some degree of marketing genius involved in any number of product promotions, sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant, but the Japanese company ACRO Inc. has made its intentions clear with one product called Pocari Sweat. It’s a health drink, according to its manufacturers, that is designed to prevent dehydration and unwanted weight loss; its target market is the growing number of women who run or otherwise exercise enough to break out in a sweat.

Pocari Sweat is currently being marketed quite successfully in Japan, especially around Tokyo where the country is gearing up for the 2020 Olympics and physical fitness is becoming something of a trend. It is produced by ACRO’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., which also makes cosmetics and advertises as using only natural ingredients indigenous to Japan.

One of ACRO’s PR managers, Mamiko Koshi, says people are attracted to the brand because they trust those natural ingredients to be good for the body. Otsuka uses only domestic Japanese ingredients in its cosmetics, such as oil extracted from tea grown in Shizuoka and material from fossil coral found at Okinawa.

Different opinions have been offered regarding the efficacy of an ‘ion’ drink as opposed to just plain water (or in Japan, tea), but it’s accepted that when we sweat, the body loses much more than H20. Electrolytes including the sodium ion are crucial to maintaining the proper chemistry of blood and organs, so basically, this drink and others like it supply the same elements that make up human sweat.

It’s a simple and obvious concept, and the name has no offensive connotations in the Japanese language. In English it certainly does, and there are some who will undoubtedly avoid the product because the idea of drinking Sweat just doesn’t appeal. However, for those who are serious about health and fitness, and/or those who prefer a straight-up product that advertises itself for exactly what it is, Pocari Sweat should be a fine addition to any strenuous exercise plan.

Sweat has made it to the UK, though only through online suppliers at this point. Bloggers comment that it’s ‘better than Gatorade’ but they also remark that it tastes pretty much like water with salt in it. Well, basically, that’s what it is; not sea water, but Sweat.