In a move likely to disappoint aspiring actresses, many major textile firms are abolishing a decades-old advertising tool — sexy “campaign girls” in bathing suits.
Teijin Ltd. has announced it will cease the practice, which it first used in 1970 to pitch its bathing suits.
Being a campaign girl, introduced by textile firms each autumn to promote new swimsuit designs for the following summer, has been considered a gateway to showbiz success for many models who landed acting jobs after gaining media attention.
Former campaign girls turned actresses include Nanako Matsushima and Kyoka Suzuki.
But the fabric industry’s efforts to cut costs and diversify have foreclosed on the advertising tactic.
Teijin said it is expanding beyond textile operations into other fields, including pharmaceuticals, and its apparel sales now account for only slightly over 10 percent of total revenues. At their peak, clothing textiles accounted for more than 50 percent of the total.
A Teijin spokesman said the company now believes continuing ads focusing on swimwear will give the firm an outdated image.
Kanebo Ltd. also plans to halt its swimwear campaign girl ads, because bathing suit sales now constitute less than 1 percent of sales for its synthesized-fiber unit.
Kanebo was the first textile maker to employ campaign girls, starting in 1968.
Kuraray Co. and Toyobo Co. have already abolished the practice.
But Toray Industries Inc. said it plans to continue the tradition, and Unitika Ltd. said its campaign girls will start advertising not only its bathing suits but the company’s entire operations.
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