August 2nd, 2011
12:00 PM ET

11 most ridiculous Japanese ads with American celebs

By , HLN Producer

The Internet is undeniably making the world smaller.

And while this is a great thing for friends trying to stay in touch years after moving away from each other, there’s a certain sect of people who must suffer while the rest of us thrive.

I’m talking, of course, about American celebrities who years ago starred in bizarre, unintentionally hilarious commercials in Japan (why Japan is the main purveyor of this advertising insanity, I have no idea), only to have the Internet unearth them for the whole planet to see.

Back in the mid-'80s or mid-'90s, the stars in question probably thought (while deviously twirling a thin mustache), “By golly, I can get my paws on a nice lump sum by shilling some Japanese libation over yonder, and people stateside will be none the wiser, see!”

But that easy money scheme was blown up thanks to the Internet (emphasis on the “thanks”). Now, those epilepsy-inducing commercials with our stars gleefully hamming it up have come to our shores, and we’re the ones reaping the rewards.

So when word spread recently that Tiger Woods had done a Japanese commercial, giddiness coursed through the veins of pop-culture watchers; we thought we'd see a lighter side of the number one 21 golfer. Unfortunately, it was a staid affair. It seems that even on the other side of the globe, Woods wouldn't unleash the real Tiger (not a euphemism).

Alas, to wash away our disappointment with Tiger's ad, here are the 11 most ridiculous Japanese ads featuring shouting, over-emoting American celebrities.

11. Brad Pitt for Roots

Alone in an office, Pitt takes a swig of coffee-in-a-can, which then causes him to dance, shadowbox, smell his own armpits and also briefly clone himself. But the most ridiculous part of the whole thing is the concept that Brad Pitt works in some office.

10. Ben Stiller for Kirin Chu-Hi

Chu-hi appears to be a lemony alcoholic drink, so basically Japan’s precursor to Four Loko. Surrounded by cheerleaders and football players (they play football in Japan?), Stiller excitedly opens a can and, in the only English word in the whole ad, declares, “Fresh!”

9. Keanu Reeves for Suntory Reserve

In this drink ad (I’m beginning to sense a trend here), Reeves is toiling away at a computer in the dark, long before he’d make his career doing that as Neo in "The Matrix." But this time around, the vibe is less “the One” and more “deleted scene from Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.”

Check out the top eight here.

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Topics: Culture • Japan

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. j. von hettlingen

    There's nothing wrong with the commercials gigs. Nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of!

    August 3, 2011 at 8:44 am | Reply
  2. PUTA

    slum dogs commercials.

    August 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Reply
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