“When it’s relaxing time, make it…..Suntory Time” Ahh, one of my favourite movies. But it reminded me the other day about Japan’s fascination with western celebrities. It seems that if you are a Hollywood movie star, you may be called to Japan at some time to sell seedless watermelons or washing machines or something.
And the car industry is certainly not immune.
First, a good (really good) example is the long-running association that Boss Coffee has with Tommy Lee Jones. Go around Tokyo and you’ll see TLJ’s face giving you quite a serious stare from Boss Coffee billboards.
It’s a somewhat bizarre ad campaign where TLJ is supposed to be a visiting alien (who, in order to remain anonymous, takes the physical form of er….Tommy Lee Jones…) who goes around Japan taking various weird jobs to learn more about humans.
Step on a train, and you’ll notice ads for men’s day spa/grooming salons featuring David Beckham, Kevin Costner advertising shoes, the list goes on, and it doesn’t seem to matter if say you are a rough and tumble screen action hero, in Japan it’s perfectly ok for say Chuck Norris to advertise tampons. Ok, I made up that last one but it could happen.
So onto the car commercials!
This one’s for the early 90s Prelude, featuring a rather earnest Ayrton Senna.
Honda obviously had a pretty big advertising budget because they also score Harrison Ford for their Legend spot.
I guess I could see Jodie Foster driving a Civic, of course I could only see that if I didn’t know that she was a movie star who probably has a stable of Bentleys.
And here’s an old one that Van posted a while ago. Integra commercial featuring a very youthful Michael J Fox.
Paul Newman actually did a lot of commercials for the R30 series Skyline. There was even a Paul Newman edition of the R30 coupe, but sadly it was the weak L20ET SOHC turbo model rather than the hotter DR30 DOHC models that he hawked in his commercials. Newman was a successful racer for Nissan in the USA in IMSA Z cars so he already had a good relationship with the company. In return for his services, Nissan also gave Newman a DR30 sedan, with a custom stroked turbo motor, which Newman still talks about fondly in interviews.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really like Mickey Roarke as an actor. He does the hard and gritty thing so well, and I like the many tough-guy characters that he’s portrayed in his many films over the years. However, I do not see Mickey Roarke driving around in a Daihatsu Charade sedan….and if you listen to the rather disinterested tone of his voiceover, I don’t think he does either!….and you know, I have a sneaking suspicion those aren’t his real friends.
Here’s one for Peter Falk for the Corolla. Still doing the Columbo thing decades after the original show.
Kyle McLachlan steps out of the shower to call his gal to ask why the hell she didn’t buy the WRX model instead.
Jackie Chan has had a very long association with Mitsubishi, and has a large collection of Mitsus himself at his Hong Kong home (when I drove past it there was a Pajero Evolution in his driveway).
Who is this guy anyway? He did a few ads for the early 80s 626/Capella.
Maybe Rob Lowe can challenge Mickey Roarke to a street race in their 1.3L econoboxes.
Eddie Murphy hawks the Celica….which was a campaign that stretched for two generations of Celica I believe.
No celebs here, but I had to throw this one in.