If you could meet your long-term partner again for the first time, would you still fall in love? That's the question posed in a new campaign from condom brand Skyn that hypnotized a married couple into thinking they were meeting as strangers.
The brand released a short film, created via Tokyo agency UltraSuperNew, which features Haruka and Chiaki Hatakeyama, who have been married for ten years and volunteered to be hypnotized for a "social experiment."
After the couple had been hypnotized separately, the director, Tomokazu Saito of Amana, briefed them that they were being introduced to a stranger for an informal chat. The couple talk, at first a little awkwardly, but then open up more emotionally about their interests and personalities. Afterwards, they were asked their opinions of each other and whether they would meet again; both give a definitive "yes." They are then shocked when it's finally revealed that they are married.
The couple were recruited in an audition process involving both the hypnotist and the director, in order to "find the right balance between a couple who were right for the brand and who were easy to hypnotize," an agency spokesperson told Ad Age. They agreed to basic legal terms, such as usage of the footage for six months.
And, in case they didn't like each other immediately, the team prepared to re-spark their affection with a list of 36 questions that would "lead to love" (according to a University of California study).
The campaign is lightly branded, ending with the Skyn tagline "Soft Love." It aims to help rekindle feelings of intimacy and the fresh and exciting feelings those in long-term relationships had when they first met.
"We wanted to do something that would remind couples of the fundamental reason why they stay together in the first place," said Annie Hou, head of business development APAC at Skyn, in a statement. "Simply, because they liked each other."
"At first, we had reservations if this idea would work, because they would have to completely erase each other’s existence and memories they’ve built up over the years," added Yousuke Ozawa, creative director at UltraSuperNew. "But when the hypnosis worked, needless to say we were in awe. When they started to open up to each other, that is when we felt something magical was happening before our eyes."
The film will run online, on social channels on digital out-of-home media in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo, with media handled by DAC and Shibuya Hit Vision.