So there I am in the cinema waiting for a movie to begin. I’m in Berlin with Uli and Jorge and Paul and we are all eagerly anticipating the opening credits.
But like everywhere in the world, you have to get through the ads first.
And this is kind of fun. Crappy ads in other people’s languages are some how far more entertaining than your own. That annoying super-excited and over-friendly voice over guy in the States has counterparts all over the world.
It’s then, that the shame reel starts to play.
A Lipton tea ad begins to play starring none other than Hugh Jackman. But it’s not just bad, it’s downright shameful. He takes a sip of some tea in a swanky hotel lobby and the next thing you know, Hugh is transformed! He dances, he shakes, he moves.
Inspired the incredibly invigorating quality of his iced Lipton, the rest of the people in the lobby all start dancing with him, flash-mob style. Then we cut to him dancing with a street full of people, twirling two girls around in a fountain, dancing up and down an escalator.
All done with the full wattage fervor of a Broadway musical on crack.
This floors me more than the movie we end up seeing. If this was running in the States, the man wouldn’t have a career. Yet, here on the Continent, that kind of cheese is made and you can get paid.
Back in the 80s and 90s it was high times for Hollywood celebrities in Japan. Everyone was endorsing something. When I lived there I saw Schwartzenegger selling Cup-A-Noodle, Natalie Portman selling Lux, Stallone sold ham (yes, ham) and who could forget Julia Roberts with her Virginia Slim cigarette billboards.
And there’s something so weirdly satisfying about catching people endorsing crap in dumb ads. Like you somehow caught them out eating at McDonald’s.
It’s official, Europe is ripe for the plundering. George Clooney and John Malkovic are in ads together, Brad Pitt’s hocking stuff too. Forget the blockbuster, I’m going to the movies for the commercials now.