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SK-II uses ‘expiry date’ to tackle stigma against unmarried Asian women

The pressure on Asian women be married by the age of 30 is the subject of a new campaign by luxury skincare brand SK-II.

The Procter & Gamble-owned brand, which specialises in anti-ageing products, has launched ‘The Expiry Date’, a three-minute pan-Asian film exploring ageing concerns and the societal expectation on women to get married young.

The film shows three women, from Japan, Korea and China, bearing a literal expiration stamp on their wrists from the moment of their births, throughout their teenage years and then into their 20s.

A voiceover says: “If we haven’t ticked all the right boxes, are we worth less after we turn 30? Or can things be different? Can we decide for ourselves who we are, who we aspire to be, what really matters? Can we change destiny by changing our thoughts?”

Created by Swedish agency Forsman & Bodenfors, the ad ends with the expiry dates disappearing as the voiceover states: “You are more than your age. Don’t let others put an expiry date on.”

Released on YouTube last week, the ad has so far received more than 50,000 views.

SK-II has previously explored the issues surrounding women and age in Asia under the tagline ‘Change Destiny’. Last year, the brand released ‘The Marriage Market’, an ad encouraging women in China to pursue their own careers and happiness without the shame attached to being a ‘sheng nu’ or ‘leftover woman’.

The ad, also by Forsman & Bodenfors, went viral both in China and abroad, and sparked worldwide discussion on the status of these so-called leftover women in modern Chinese society.

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