The Imperial March Gets a Canine Twist

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Jan 19, 2012 in Star Wars, Television

Volkswagon uploaded a teaser for their 2012 Game Day commercial entitled “The Bark Side.” The short features a group of adorable pups barking out John Williams’ “Imperial March,” with complete with some ATAT-cosplay at the end. The whole commercial is beyond adorable, and while I’m not sure what it has to do with selling cars, there’s no denying how awesome it is. In the span of a few short hours, the clip has attracted 50,000 views.  To learn more, check out Volkswagon’s official game day invite page here. Read more…

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Softbank’s Otousan in Space

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Jan 2, 2012 in Japanese TV, Television

The other week, Softbank debuted a lengthy 5 minute 30 second long ad for their mobile phones starring the ever-popular “White family.” For those of you who haven’t seen any of the previous ads, they were centered around a multi-racial Japanese family with a dog (Otousan) as the father and often range from hilarious to adorable. The latest ad sees Otousan attempting to fulfill his dream of traveling in space, and guest-stars Japanese astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, who had spent several months on the International Space Station last year. you can watch that portion of the ad above. The final three minutes of the full ad feature former Japanese boy-band, turned Television hosts, SMAP and can be viewed by clicking here. Read more…

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Japanese Ducks Can Sell Me Anything

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Sep 13, 2011 in Japanese TV, Television

So can cats for that matter. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with Afflack’s Japanese commercials. Admittedly, I’ve been obsessed with them ever since I stumbled across their original “Maneki Neko Dakku” CM months back. Something about a dancing cat and duck makes me swoon every time I see it. It helps that the song is really cute and catchy as well. In fact, it was so catchy that the company released a full version of it complete with a music video. While I’m sure these ads would probably flop in the US, it’s amazing to see how it has caught on in Japan. The latest commercials feature ARASHI’s Sho Sakurai and idol/actress Aoi Miyazaki playing a duet on an organ while the duck and cat join in. It’s terribly cute, and will probably have children all over Japan begging their parents to switch their providers as a result. Then again, when it comes to Japan, cute is always chic.

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Apple’s Japanese iPhone Ads Seem Familiar

Posted by Tim Sheehy on Aug 17, 2010 in Japanese TV, Tech

Generally, Japanese commercials tend to be a bit more outlandish than our own TV spots, so I was a bit surprised to learn that Apple hasn’t really done much to change the format of their recent iPhone 4 ads for an international market, aside from hiring Japanese actors of course. It would seem that Apple has focused almost entirely on their Face Time feature, hoping that live video chat would be enough to sell anyone on their reception-impaired smart phone. To be fair, a simple case can fix that, but why should there be a problem in the first place — right? Any ways, the commercials are still pretty cute. I just wonder if it’s enough to steal NTT Docomo’s loyal fan base.

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Japan’s Answer to a Struggling Economy? Try Credit Cards

Posted by Tim Sheehy on May 26, 2010 in Japanese TV

These commercials for the Japanese credit firm, JCB, feature J-Pop vocalist Ninomiya Kazunari miraculously saving the struggling Japanese economy with a simple swipe of his JCB issued credit card. The commercials are pretty hilarious, but at the same time I’m a little confused. In fairness, they’re technically encouraging some form of economic stimulation, but that’s only assuming people are actually going to pay off the balance they borrow on those cards, which, in part, is the reason behind the current global financial crisis. A bit ironic, don’t you think? Read more…

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Fit’s Dance Contest: Are You Ready Gumshoes?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 29, 2009 in Japanese TV

Fit’s is a Japanese chewing gum made by Lotte (which is really a South Korean company by the way) and a while ago they started to try their hand at viral video advertising with a series of surreal dance videos. They’ve started their “second season” of the campaign and videos are as strange as ever (which makes me happy). Read more…

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Talking Doggie Saves Little Girl from Falling Piano

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 20, 2009 in Japanese TV

I love this series of cute commercials for Softbank in Japan, but then again what’s not to like about a talking doggie that can save a little girl from a falling piano? The use of classical music through out each spot adds to absurdity as well. And the oddest twist comes at the end when our hero is featured on a pair on sandals: Read more…

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Miss Japan in Full SCA Cosplay Regalia

Posted by Michael Pinto on Sep 11, 2009 in Japanese TV

Norika FujiwaraIn 1992 Norika Fujiwara (藤原 紀香) was crowned Miss Japan, and since then she’s done everything from doing the voice over work for the Japanese dubbed version of Shrek to acting as a goodwill ambassador for international sports games. In this commercial for ALC she dresses up like a medieval knight leading the charge to teach young kids English (ALC is an educational publisher in Japan). While doing my research on Fujiwara I came across this cute variety show skit where she plays a game of basketball against a guy dressed up as a french poodle: Read more…

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Silly Rabbit Robocalls

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 1, 2008 in Television

Many think of robocalls a recent phenomena, but this ancient 1980 Trix cereal commercial showcases this old campaign technique. I love how the little girl needs to defend her extreme political point of view that Trix are somehow part of a “nutritious breakfast” not to mention her anti-free market views that the poor bunny should be denied a bowl of his well earned fruit-flavored corn puffs.

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Aspirational Americana Alcohol Ads of the 80s

Posted by Michael Pinto on Oct 21, 2008 in Japanese TV

From the land of the free and the home of the bud comes these two Japanese adverts from the 80s. My guess is that the commercial above for Budweiser may have been slightly inspired by shows like Dallas from that era — while the below Coors ad features music by David Foster and Lee Ritenour:

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