DENTSU EAST JAPAN, Tokyo / RECRUIT LIFESTYLE / 2019
The rising number of couples in Japan have fertility problems. In fact, about one in 5 couples suffers from infertility today. Despite the fact that about half (46%) of fertility problems are found with men, many still believe “fertility treatment is for women” and do not act in the early stage of fertility treatment, leading not only to lower success rate, but also to longer treatment period and higher cost.
Recruit Group is a company that supports people at various life events, including marriage, childbirth, job hunting and house-moving. So we decided to offer a solution. We planned our communication with the objective of making men recognize the fact that “half of infertility cases are caused by men” because it would encourage men to take tests earlier, and help spread the idea that “It takes two to achieve pregnancy”.
“Seem” is an easy-to-use device to measure mobility of sperms and detect abnormality, to be used with a smartphone. We chose Amazon, large electronics chain stores and their e-commerce websites as the main sales channel to ensure easy accessibility for the target. We also approached local governments facing declining birthrate to encourage them to introduce Seem and subsidize male fertility treatment.
We also launched “Seem Lab” website that disseminates accurate information about fertility treatment and uploaded a documentary film featuring multiple couples who are real Seem users trying to achieve pregnancy.
We used smartphone because it is familiar with men who are trying to achieve pregnancy and men in the digital-native generation who plan to have children in future. Smartphones also enable the test easier without going to clinic, which should make more men involved.
Awareness of the fact that “half of fertility problems are caused by men” has risen to 42.5% up by 5.5 pt. compared to 37.0% in 2016, and after testing with Seem, the number of men who go / are willing to go to clinic increased by 147%. Users and sales have been increasing 300% per annum continuously since 2016, with over a thousand drugstores where Seem is sold. Seem was also ranked No.1 in the world’s largest e-commerce store at test kit category in 2017.
Fertility supporting tools for men barely existed when Seem was launched. Since then similar products have been introduced by various manufacturers, marking the development of men’s fertility support market.
As the issue gains more awareness, the society has become more open-minded where fertility and birth control are no longer a taboo topic. At drug stores, birth-control goods, which used to be discreetly placed, moved to a more visible and accessible area along with Seem.
Media also started to discuss male fertility issues in news programs, while a fertility-themed serial drama was produced in 2018 in which Seem actually appeared, followed by a 2019 release of a film on the theme of male infertility, showing the society’s heightened awareness on this issue.