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I read on Japan Today the other day that Leonardo DiCaprio has made a commercial for whisky. Apparently, the commercial will only be shown here in Japan. I remember reading about this phenomenon before I even came to this country. The book I read said that most of the foreign celebrities who made commercials here had a clause inserted in their contract guaranteeing that they would never be shown in any other country.
The problem is that Japanese commercials seem very strange to Westerners, and a lot of the celebrities were worried about how it would affect their image back home. Not long after I arrived in Japan, I remember seeing Bruce Willis doing a commercial for tobacco in which he just looked at the camera and said, “Speak Lark,” which is a completely meaningless utterance. I have to admit that I thought he looked pretty silly.
Another problem is that Japanese commercials tend to be very formulaic. For example, if anyone needs to make a commercial for beer, please just give me a call. I will be able to write one for you quite easily: 1) Show a fit, handsome guy running up a hill or doing some exercise; 2) show him drinking the beer; 3) have him turn to the camera and say “うまい！” That’s pretty much it!
I think the reason for this lack of variety is that Japanese companies tend to be very conservative and don’t want to try anything new. I used to have a friend who was a TV producer in Tokyo. I asked her once why all Japanese TV shows follow the same format, and she said it’s because the sponsors are so conservative. Basically, she said that they will not sponsor anything unless it has an established “talent” and a popular format, so the programme makers can’t try anything new even if they want to.
Many of the comments on the JT article mentioned the idea of people “losing respect” for celebrities who just come to Japan to make a commercial, take the money, and go straight back home. I think that is a bit silly. Making commercials is just part of their job, and if some Japanese company wants to pay a celebrity a huge amount of money for a day’s work, then why not?
The point of this entry is that I would like to know what Japanese people think of commercials that feature foreign celebrities. Do you think it helps their image in Japan, or do you think it damages it? Also, what do you think about TV commercials in general? Are there any you particularly like or dislike?
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
このブログは英語学習者のためのものです。レベルの高い人もいれば、初心者もいますので、自分のレベルや学習経験を気にする必要はありません。「いつもコメントを書いている人は仲間みたいだから参加しにくい」と思う方もいるかもしれませんが、勇気を出してコメントを書いてみてください。必ず温かく迎えてもらえます。多くのコメントは英語で書かれていますが、もちろん日本語もOKですし、英語と日本語を混ぜて書いても大丈夫です。言いたいことが言えないときは、How do you say 「〜」in English? と聞けば、きっとだれかが教えてくれると思います。私のエントリー、または他のメンバーのコメントの中に分からないところがあったら、「”…”はどういう意味ですか？」と遠慮なく聞いてください。このブログで使われているフレーズや表現をたくさん吸収すると、より自然な英語に近づけることができますよ！
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