Food and Drinks

Mar 10

Hugh Jackman cuts a Japanese beer commercial

hugh jackman asahi super dry commercial screenshot

A screenshot of Hugh Jackman's Asahi Super Dry TV commercial

The internationally recognized Australian actor, Hugh Jackman, well known for his portrayal of the character Wolverine in the hit movie series “X-men” (based on the comic book series), and also “Sexiest Man Alive” according to People magazine (2008) has a Japanese television commercial for Asahi Super Dry beer.

The commercial shows Jackman and a couple other men dressed in business suits running up stairs to a rooftop heliport to greet an older male (presumably a higher ranking executive). After Jackman shakes the older man’s hand, a voice over says what loosely translates into “High class is dry taste”.  Typographics in Japanese kanji “辛口” (Dry taste) appear on screen, which is then followed by what appears to be a rooftop beer party. Watch the commercial on the link below.

Note – Contrary to popular belief, a commercial featuring Jackman dancing in a lobby, rooftop, and elevator of a hotel (which appears to be in Japan, based on katakana and kanji appearing in the commercial) for Lipton teas is not an actual Japanese commercial. Also note, that he is slated to start filming the movie Wolverine 2 in Japan sometime in the near future, if not already.

See the Hugh Jackman Asahi Beer commercial here via YouTube

Nov 09

World Series MVP Matsui on Fire with advertising blitz

Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees was just named MVP of the 2009 World Series after winning the championship, in the new Yankee Stadium. But the baseball star, also known as “Godzilla” is also big in Japan as some sort MVP of advertising celebrity icon as this advertisement billboard, one of a whole series of ads for Kirin’s FIRE brand of coffee, shows. This ad says in the main copy “ボデイが強い。(bodei ga tsuyoi)” which translates as “A strong body” in referring to the “body” of the coffee while also referring to Matsui as well as the silouette of the king of all monster movies himself, Godzilla. The copy on the right reads ”10年目のNew Fire” which translates as “A New Fire of the decade” followed by “直火仕上げ (jikabi shiage) directly translated says “Finished by flame” but probably means “Fire Roasted”.
This series of Matsui Kirin “Fire” coffee advertisements can be found on billboards, the side of buildings, posters inside train cars, magazines and other published media as well as tv commercials and has been used since the tail end of August, throughout Japan.

The concept is that this new FIRE coffee has a strong and bold flavor for strong and bold men (the TV commercial address the men of Japan with the classic Godzilla theme song playing in the background) On an interesting sidenote, Matsui’s jersey number, which he has had from his professional league days in Japan to his current stint in New York, has always been 55, which in Japanese can be read as GoJu Go or Go Go (five five). Coincidentally the rock band Blue Oyster Cult had a hit song in the mid-70’s based and titled after the monster “Godzilla” where the chorus of the song was “Go, Go Godzilla”. But whether Matsui is selling or swinging, you can bet he is hoping for a “monster” hit.
Japanese advertising frequently use non-Japanese celebrities and popular media figures, as a quick search on YouTube or google for that matter will reveal. Others who have appeared in Japanese commercials and advertisements are Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Tommy Lee Jones (also selling coffee), Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Zeta Jones, Robert DeNiro, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Gere, to name but a few. Japanese commercials, supposedly pay as high as a Hollywood film for big name stars.

Mar 09

Repetitive ads go down easier with a spoonful of sugar

Mitsui sugar ad poster

Mitsui sugar ad poster

I don’t recall seeing this practice much back in the States, but in Japan they love to plaster walls with the same exact advertisement poster. It wouldn’t be uncommon to walk around town spotting walls of the same ad covering a whole wall. They also do this with TV commercials where they show the same commercial right after the first one finishes. Sometimes the commercials are slightly different, but often times not. It almost feels like a glitch in the Matrix. Like a glitch in the Matrix. You get the point.

This is an ad for Spoon brand sugar. To me this advertisement almost looks like a retro 1960’s style fashion ad, but then again maybe I’ve just been watching too much Mad Men lately. These ads were posted in Yokohama station for the Toyoko line. The copy next to the woman’s head reads “Sugar has always been Spoon brand.”(お砂糖は、ずっと、スプーン印). The copy below the central spoon logo reads “Thanks to you, Spoon is celebrating its 50th anniversary” (おかげさまで、スプーン印は50周年). Below that in English it reads “Sweet Smile with Spoon Sugar.” with a 50th Anniversary logo. (FYI- Did I mention the use of English or “Engrish,” in advertisements and packaging is a popular trend in Japan.) Bottom left shows what I think is the packaging and next to it is a some type of give-away campaign they have going on with a link to the corporate website for Mitsui Sugar which I am guessing is the parent company of the Spoon brand.