Great Moments In Commercial History: Hai Karate Aftershave

The ads for Axe body sprays have a cultural debt to be paid to the makers of Hai Karate aftershave, sold from the 60’s to the 80’s. Their whole marketing strategy hinged on the notion that the budget aftershave would turn women into wild maniacs who couldn’t wait to put their hands on you. Uniquely, each bottle came with a self-defense instruction booklet, so you could learn moves to protect yourself from the inevitable onslaught of females. Spotted this ad over at Transcripts and more Hai Karate commercials, inside…

AD 1

GUY: Hey how about a movie tonight?

GIRL: Wow, what’s that aftershave?!

ANNOUNCER: New Hai Karate aftershave is so powerful, it drives women right out of their minds. That’s why we have to put instructions on self-defense in every package. Hai Karate, the brisk splash-on aftershave the smooths, and sooths, and cools. Hai Karate, aftershave, cologne, and gift sets. Hai Karate, be careful how you use it.

AD 2

GIRL: Hmm, mmm. Check

ANNOUNCER: Oh dear, time for a little gamesmanship. With new Hai Karate Gamesman.

GUY: Your move.

ANNOUNCER: New Gamesman from Hai Karate. For the man who plays to win.

AD 3

JOEY BISHOP: I would like to talk to you men about this new aftershave lotion, Hai Karate. Just in case you got some now or you get some for Christmas…

REGIS PHILBIN: Wait wait wait, never use Hai Karate without first reading the instructions! They come in every package! You know why it’s important….

JOEY: Ah, it’s a commercial, you know they’re kidding, right?

REGIS: Nonononono! It’s true! Because you see with just a little too much cologne, a girl, even your wife, can become crazy! And attack you passionately! (Giggles).

Audience laughs.

JOEY: Lay some on me!

REGIS: A little over there…

JOEY: All right, we don’t need that much.

Catcalls from the audience.

JOEY: Ha! Ho! Ha! Help me out! Help me out!

REGIS: Ha! Ha! Ha!


JOEY: That was a commercial, and now this is, without any solicitation at all, young lady, would you mind coming up for just a moment? Now really, we do commercials, and we’re gently unfair, because we don’t become familiar with the product. Now would you mind? I have a little dab of Hai Karate on me. And I want to get an unsolicited opinion. All right? Ok. Now just give it a little whiff. Is that nice?

GIRL: It’s delicious.

JOEY: Is it? Ha! Haaaaaaaaa!

If you’d like to nominate a commercial for our weekly series “Great Moments In Commercial History” send us an email at tips [at] consumerist [dot] com. Be sure to put “Great Moments In Commercial History” in the subject. To see other commercials that have been featured in the series, click here.