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.


Edit Your Comment

  1. phelander says:

    I’d prefer my aftershave caused women to beat ME off as opposed to the other way around.

  2. homerjay says:

    @phelander: Oh yeah, thats gonna go over well. :)

  3. GitEmSteveDave says:

    I hate all of this false advertising. I started using Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner b/c the commercial promised that if I did, a bunch of lovely ladies would pull me by my hair out from under the car I was fixing in the desert, and gather around me. Never happened. Almost as bad as the “rape” whistle I got. I blew that thing for an hour straight, and didn’t get raped once.

  4. IrisMR says:

    Axe is for pussies!

  5. girlhappy says:

    I found a nearly full bottle of Hai Karate when we cleaned out my grandparents’ house a few years ago. Foul. Absolutely foul. And somehow I don’t think my Nana turned into a raving, passionate maniac when my grandfather wore it – else it would’ve been empty, right?

  6. ex_ea_slave says:

    Back in the ’70’s, somebody gave me a Hai Karate gift pack. I was only 7 or 8, but even then I thought it smelled like a burning tire. Now that I think about it, who the hell gives something to drive the ladies crazy to an 8 year old?

  7. rbb says:

    @ex_ea_slave: Ummm… Mary Kay LeTourneau?

  8. huginn says:

    Precursor to the Axe ads.

    Sadly, this would sell well even today.

  9. ekthesy says:

    All I can think of is Michael Scott’s “Night Swept” gift pack.

  10. KarmaChameleon says:


    Axe totally has the opposite effect on me. If I smell it on a guy, it lets me know he’s a douche and to stay far, far away.

  11. Sam says:

    My dad still talks about this aftershave. He’s going to love this page — thanks Consumerist!

  12. Teki says:

    OMG, I want this stuff.

  13. RadProphet says:

    Man, the name’s awesome. I’d feel like a Cobra Kai reject wearing that.

  14. alecksander says:

    ‘Hai’ is ‘yes’ in Japanese, so… yes karate? ooh so exotic….. and were you allowed to stroke your boob on public television back then?

  15. clank-o-tron says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: Genuine lols delivered. My question is why they don’t have these kinds of ads for cars, the one thing that’s practically proven to stir the loins of disreputable women everywhere?

  16. freqhz says:

    do you remember the cough drop commercial where “odd job” from the bond movie chopped a car to pieces?

  17. witeowl says:

    Oh, my. I wonder if they’d get away with the salaciousness of the second commercial in these times. Lemme know if I missed something:

    1) Woman’s finger suggestively placed in mouth and “tongued”.
    2) Breast self-carressed.
    3) Chesspiece suggestively “massaged”.
    4) Chesspiece kissed.

    Seems to me she was aroused more by the chess than the cologne.

  18. Channing says:

    I want to buy this. I want to buy this.

    Does this still exist?