Friday, June 8, 2012

Lotte Ice Breakers (Product Information)

When I was living in Japan, one of the little things I enjoyed was sampling the various Mintia flavors. For those who may not recall, Mintia is the Japanese equivalent of a TicTac. It's tiny little pellets, not necessarily mint-flavored, which I imagine are supposed to be handy for breath freshening, but that I generally kept around to get that lingering coffee taste out of my mouth or the weird aftertaste of Japanese chocolate. While I loved the creamy milk chocolate in Japan in general, it always did leave a funky taste on the tongue and a bit of Mintia went a long way. It also helps those with an oral fixation who would like not to apply it to other things in the presence of civilized company.

In the last 6 months or so of my stay in Japan, I sampled a vast array of interesting Mintia flavors. I think I only reviewed a few here, but I sampled far more in my everyday life. In fact, one of my last acts of snack advocacy in Japan was to get my brother-in-law hooked on Mintia by sharing a mikan (Japanese tangerine) one with him shortly before we left. The advantage of tiny little mints like Asahi's Mintia and Lotte's Ice Breakers, which are the latter's attempt to slice out a piece of the Mintia market's pie, is that they provide a flavor pack for a low calorie and monetary cost. At an average price of about 100 yen ($1.20) per pack of 50 tiny little tablets, it's a pretty good deal.

The difference between Mintia and Ice Breakers is that Lotte's offering comes in pretty boring flavors. They offer sour grape, sour green apple and sour lemon. Like Mintia, you get 50 little tablets per pack and they are sugar-free. While there isn't much in the way of sugar-free candy in Japan, gum and mints tend to be the exception because of the possibility of their causing tooth decay (not because of concerns about calories). Lotte, in what I can only imagine is an attempt to draw attention to a product which seems to be utterly lacking in imagination both in terms of presentation (same tablets, same packaging, same product as Mintia), and pedestrian flavors, is using a flamboyant  actor named "Jonte Moaning" in the commercials. He's an interesting choice not because he was associated with Janet Jackson during his career, but because he is not too dissimilar from all of us other grunts who came to Japan and ended up teaching something. In his case, he taught dance in Hiroshima. There's an interesting interview with him here. I like how he laughs when the interviewer asserts that he is big in Japan. Many small time celebrities, musicians, and actors lie about being "big in Japan" in order to promote themselves and he seems to be acknowledging that their perception of him is a bit overblown. Prior to this promotion for Lotte, I never saw anything featuring him in Japan. Of course, I didn't watch much television (and actually still do not) and he could be the bee's knees in Japan and I might not know it.

The commercial is currently available on Lotte's "CM" (what the Japanese call commercials) page. You can view it from this page by clicking on the appropriate thumbnail while it lasts. Note that the link won't be there forever as Lotte rotates out the commercials after the products get new promotions or are withdrawn from the market. They even have a Facebook page with a little under 70 "likes", which sort of makes me sad. Mintia has about 3,400 on theirs. I wonder to what extent using Jonte Moaning in a very eye-catching (and slightly disturbing) commercial reminiscent of a less heterosexual Ruby Rhod in The Fifth Element will amp up their product recognition. It certainly made me take notice.


Blue Shoe said...

I didn't really try many of the different flavors, but Mintia was my brand of choice for breath-fresheners.

BradleyNASH said...

OH ... MY ... GOD ... that ad/packaging!

Orchid64 said...

Blue Shoe: You and me both. ;-)

Bradley: Yes, it certainly does catch the eye, doesn't it? ;-)

Rodzilla said...

just found his twitter page -!/HelloJonte

I guess he's really into this one.

Did you ever see the movie 300? He reminds me of an even more flamboyant Persian king Xerxes..if that's possible.