The use of foreign celebrities in Japanese commercials is a common thing. Lost in Translation helped me understand this happens because it’s quite lucrative. And generally those commercials never leave Japan so they’re happy enough to do them. At least that was the usual thing before Youtube came along.
Here are some of my favourites, they are really something.
I know this video is a bit long, but if there’s a video you should watch today this is it. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a lot of commercials in Japan and a lot of them are hilarious. This video features commercials for iced coffee, noodles and some sort of energy drink. The energy drink ones are my favourite because most of them show him laughing like a maniac for some reason.
Nicolas Cage is a force of nature. This isn’t the weirdest thing he’s done by far, but it’s still funny. I want to think he’s as passionate about pachinko in real life, otherwise what’s the point?
Sure, there’s nothing weird about this one but I wanted to put it in the list. The funny thing about this sake commercial is that the music is an instrumental piece by Bowie called Crystal Japan. It was a leftover from the Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) sessions that he released as a single in Japan, so they used it in this commercial too.
Tommy Lee Jones
Tommy Lee Jones is an intimidating guy, you wouldn’t want to make him angry because he looks like he could kill you. And yet his Japanese commercials paint a different picture of him. The bulk of his commercials are for Boss Coffee, where he plays an alien trying to understand life on Earth, he played the same character in a crossover with a Softbank commercial.
The Softbank commercials are a thing of beauty, they feature a family and the patriarch is a dog.
And I’m going to finish with another Softbank commercial. This one shows Quentin Tarantino as part of the Softbank family and it’s exactly as goofy as you’d expect of him.
Angry Spaniard, adoptive Irishman. Writer, reader, tea drinker and video game player/designer.