12 Japanese TV Commercials Movie Stars Don't Want You To Find

The embarrassing celebrity cash-ins they'd rather sweep under the rug... or the ultimate zeniths of their careers?

Television commercials are strange beasts, and often seem to have been designed by people on day release€ and that€™s just the ones from our own cultures. If you€™ve ever been abroad and seen TV advertisements in other countries, there€™s always a little disconnect between what you€™re used to and what you€™re watching, quite apart from any issues with a language barrier: the composition, music and editing feel wrong, slightly off kilter. And then there€™s Japanese television. The Japanese have a cheerfully inventive and hyperactive approach to television commercials that mirrors their unique approach to pop culture in general, all crash-edits, reaction shots and mugging to camera. What people don€™t realise is that this isn€™t just because Japan is a kerrrrazzzzy place and the Japanese, all a bunch of bizarreniks. No, in Japan €˜weird€™ is a selling point, a marketing tool, and one that rivals or even exceeds €˜sexy€™ for the massive Japanese marketing and advertising budget. That€™s right: Japanese TV advertisers have astronomical amounts to spend, compared with their Western counterparts. That€™s why so many serious, rich, seriously rich Hollywood stars have decamped to Tokyo over the years to shoot commercials for Japanese products, for the Japanese audience: there€™s a metric crapton of lovely, lovely money in it, and before the age of the Internet, no one aside from the Japanese audience would ever see it€ something which, sadly for their reputations, simply isn€™t true anymore. Now, if you think that the cultural disconnect is massive for Western TV viewers watching Japanese telly, wait until you watch Western movie megastars appearing in Japanese commercials. These are some of my favourites of all time, and remember: once seen, they cannot be unseen.

12. George Clooney - Kirin Green Label Beer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCkI323J9K4 The Cloonfather has taken acting in television commercials as a fundamental part of his career, and rarely appears embarrassed or flustered by slumming it in the adverts. He€™s also able to handily take the mickey out of himself, something he made a virtue of playing a wonderful variety of handsome, bumbling, gurning fools in the films he€™s made with the Coen brothers. Here, he€™s the Clooney most of us know from the flicks: El Cloonola, unflappable, urbane, a walking throwback to the era of stars like Spencer Tracy and Cary Grant. And in the perfect summer sunshine, he€™s painting green the roof of a small white house set in a beautiful green meadow, and visited by a small CGI bird that leaves green footprints on his clean white shirt. Why Clooney is there is a mystery for the ages. Why he€™s painting the house, likewise. I like to think that he wants it to be invisible from the air so that he can use it as a lair of some description.

Professional writer, punk werewolf and nesting place for starfish. Obsessed with squid, spirals and story. I publish short weird fiction online at desincarne.com, and tweet nonsense under the name Jack The Bodiless. You can follow me all you like, just don't touch my stuff.