More Japanese Commercial Madness
I've been obsessively investigating that bizarre commercial I posted yesterday. I just can't get it out of my head... it's like some kind of neural weapon, I swear, a psychological virus that's probably going to turn me into a sparkly-eyed, maniacally laughing zombie any moment now. My co-workers should beware...
Before my painful transmogrification begins, however, I'd like to quickly note what I've learned. For posterity, you understand, in the hope that any future sparkly golden zombie plagues can be avoided. My research indicates that the future Governator was shilling for some kind of Japanese energy drink in this clip, a substance called Arinamin V, which is like a turbo-charged version of Red Bull or something. According to a Japanese blogger named Joi Ito, this is what's going on in the ad:
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Arinamin V's commercial. He is playing mah-jong with important guests. He does a huge faux paux by winning the round when he should have let the guests win. His boss scolds him. Then he sneaks off to a corner, drinks the special drink while the customer is telling his boss the deal is off. Suddenly, as the drink takes effect, Arnold is transformed into a glittering entertainer and the guest is showered with mah-jong score counting stick and everyone is shouting and cheering.
It's pretty common knowledge that American celebrities who wouldn't stoop to doing TV ads here in the States frequently go to Japan and collect big paychecks for a day's work and a little video endorsement there. (You may recall that the wonderfully moody film Lost in Translation used this conceit as a premise to drop Bill Murray down in the middle of Tokyo.) I suppose the stars in question figure that no one will ever see commercials made for a market half a world away, so there's no risk for their professional dignity. Poor, foolish actors... obviously they never counted on the power of the InterWebs! These days, it's ridiculously easy to find commercials that actors like Ah-nald probably wish would stay hidden. There's an entire site dedicated to them, Japander.com (although everytime I visit Japander, it seems to crash my Firefox browser, so be cautious if you click that link). And of course, there's YouTube, the biggest repository for pop-cultural detritus ever invented. I've used YouTube to to dig up several more Japanese TV commercials starring two of my favorite actors. I present them to you now, for your Wednesday viewing pleasure:
First up, Harrison Ford shills beer, because "Everyone drinks Kirin Biro":
Next, Indiana Jones takes time out from driving his Honda to break a horse and pick up chicks:
Indy's dad, Sean Connery, drives a Mazda and pronounces it "shtriking":
In an ad of somewhat more distant vintage, Connery shares a cup of "Biogurt" with a scary stuffed bunny:
And finally, just for a change of pace, a clever spot from France. Once again, Sean Connery is driving, but this time it's a Citroen. And it seems to have an unusual effect on the elderly Scotsman:
A good day of driving often makes me feel young, but nothing quite like that...