SHARP Blog

Discovering the roots of the ASEAN ‘Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher’ through a teleconference with Malaysia!

August 29, 2016

Some of us have an image of mosquitos as “itchy when stung”, but mosquito-borne infectious diseases pose an immediate problem.

The Plasmacluster Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher <FU-GK50-B> was born from an idea a South-East Asian Sharp employee had, and was developed in the hope of making some kind of contribution towards improving social issues caused by mosquitos.

20160824-a-5
Plasmacluster Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher
<FU-GK50-B (Black-colored type)>

This Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher originated in ASEAN and was released in September 2015 in Malaysia, October in Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, November in the Philippines, and was released in April 2016 in Japan as well.

We held a teleconference with members from Sharp Electronics (Malaysia) which participated in product planning, marketing and advertising, and asked them how this air purifier came to become a product.

20160824-a-2Product planning/marketing/advertising team in Malaysia

 

Approaching social issues caused by mosquitos with technology and ideas!

――What gave you the idea to incorporate a mosquito catcher into the product?

Social issues related to mosquitos are becoming more serious every year. Increasing population density with urbanization and puddles at construction sites due to the boom in development is said to play a part in creating more areas in which mosquitos can breed.

We started cooperating with the Japanese development team to create an air purifier with mosquito catching functions, so we could contribute in a positive way towards consumer concerns in this social background.

20160824-a-3

 

――Using an air purifier to capture mosquitos is a very novel idea, and I’m guessing that it may have been difficult to gain the understanding of others. Where did you get your motivation to proceed with this project?

There are many individuals that we know who have caught infectious diseases due to mosquitos. There have been colleagues who needed to take time off, or family and relatives who have been hospitalized or even died from these ailments. We have heard stories of patients exceeding the capacity of hospitals and being forced to treat themselves at home.

Mosquito-borne infectious diseases are an immediate problem for people in this region, and there was a sense of excitement from the beginning, in anticipation of being able to “contribute with our products” towards alleviating this situation. Progress was difficult, as we had trouble finding a concrete way to make this a reality. However, cooperation from like-minded departments enabled project development to happen.

 

――I heard that you conducted many tests towards commercializing the product.

We thought that local testing was absolutely necessary to create an “Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher” that actually worked, so we contacted the Institute for Medical Research (IMR), which is an official organization of the Malaysian Ministry of Health.

We told the organization our strong feelings toward creating a product that would reduce the threat of mosquitos, by introducing past activities of our company, including joint research with a local university on Malaysia haze (smoke pollution). We received support towards our activities and passion, leading to the organization’s cooperation on joint testing of the product. There is a need for repeated tests when the target is a living creature. That is why we ended up testing on more than 10 thousand mosquitos.

Although we say “mosquitos” as a general term, there are many types of mosquitos which include species that are active in the morning and those active at night. Testing is also affected by weather, meaning that the same results can never be anticipated. We would sometimes receive positive results that would lift our expectations, but some results would be disheartening. We analyzed each factor that caused the various results and cleared all issues. Members from IMR realized the earnest passion Sharp had when members from the Japanese development team came over to participate in testing, and offered much support and advice.

20160824-a-7Used mosquito catching sheet

 

――Did you tweak your marketing and advertisement campaign for the “Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher” to reach out to a wider audience?

We figured that it would be most effective to show consumers the test environment to answer their doubts whether the product “actually captures mosquitos”. We created YouTube movies introducing the test environment and testing scenes at IMR, and released these movies online and at stores.

For television commercials, we used the Japanese character Doraemon, which is popular in the ASEAN region as well. Doraemon also perfectly summarizes “innovative Japanese technology” too! We have recently prepared fans with the “Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher” advertisement, to increase recognition. Because people tend to throw away flyers, we created a fan with Doraemon on it, so it can be used when going out and thus lead to more consumers getting to know the product.

20160824-a-6Doraemon fan seen during a teleconference session

The five steps to capture mosquitos are explained clearly in stores. What is more, an “approach book” sales manual has been distributed to each promoter, who are staff that stand at stores to approach customers. A glance at the “approach book” offers product details such as the issues mosquitos cause in society, the mechanism of capturing mosquitos, Plasmacluster technology and air purifying technology to allow customers to get to know the benefits of the “Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher”, and we have installed monitor screens in stores to play the videos as much as possible to communicate these benefits when promoters are absent.

20160824-a-4
POP advertising at stores in ASEAN regions

 

――I’ve heard that a customer commented that “our grandchildren visit us more now, because there are less mosquitos in the house.” Are there any other reactions from other customers?

A Vietnamese company installed the product in their meeting room, and were extremely pleased to see that once the mosquitos were gone, they could focus more on their meetings. Another story is, my sister-in-law called to ask if I knew about an “air purifier that captures mosquitos”—she owns a home appliance retail store, but her store did not carry air purifiers. She said that a customer asked specifically for this item, leading to my sister-in-law calling me. That was a very happy moment for me.

 

We were able to create the “Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher” thanks to the teamwork of various departments, including those in Japan and Malaysia. I believe this product is the child of efforts from everyone. All staff members were so immersed within this project, so we are proud and very joyful whenever we see the product in stores. Still, we cannot avoid the fact that air purifiers are still not widely recognized in the ASEAN region. For this time, we focused on the social issues mosquitos bring, but from now on, we would like to pursue the potential of air purifiers by expanding the scope of products.

――Thank you very much.

 

I caught a glimpse of the bond of trust and friendship the Malaysian product planning/marketing/advertising team had through the teleconference. The “Air Purifier with Mosquito Catcher” may have been born through this powerful relationship of trust.

 

Plasmacluster

 

 

Back to SHARP Blog indexBack to SHARP Blog index
Top