I thought that traveling to Japan would foster a better understanding of their schizophrenic media but when I flew to Tokyo last year I was more confused than ever. And it’s more than just a language thing. Why is everyone shouting I thought. Why is Tommy Lee Jones following me on public transport? Why is that dog speaking to a park bench? What does it all mean?
I finally came to the conclusion that Japanese advertising doesn’t make sense. But for the English speaking world these commercial were never about selling they’re about ridiculing the celebrities who star in them and the batshit crazy stuff they’re forced to do – with intensity! Take Quentin Tarantino for example. In the below ad for Japanese Tel-Co SoftBank the noted Japanophile and martial arts geek battles it out with thin air before receiving an angry call from his girlfriend through what looks to be a dog figurine cum communication device. Another dog, a real dog, then starts talking. Like I said, it’s not a language thing it’s a cultural thing. Just try to sub in English dialogue that makes sense in this scenario.
SoftBank have previously enlisted Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson and David Fincher for the commercials below – all starring Brad “Money Bags” Pitt.