12 Hollywood stars who made millions of Japanese TV commercials

In the ’80s and’ 90s, it was quite standard for Hollywood superstars to run overseas advertising campaigns. Before the internet made all content international, any of their American audiences were unlikely to see its Japanese ads.

Even today, the big players are still ready to be the face of the products in sometimes ridiculous campaigns because they offer significant paydays, even for those who are used to Hollywood budgets. Commercial shoots, which generally last three days on average, should pay between $ 1 and $ 3 million for Hollywood A-List stars.

11 Tommy lee jones

Tommy Lee Jones is best known for playing roles such as stern police officers and cowboys, but for 13 years he was the face of a Japanese advertising campaign for the Suntory beverage company, specifically the Boss canned coffee. His role? An alien who observes human life.

The brand is still massive today, and Boss canned coffee vending machines may be seen on the street corners of Japan – all with actor Tommy Lee Jones’ face on it!

ten Brad pitt

9 Justin bieber

Brad Pitt isn’t the only modern star cashing in on campaigns abroad. Justin Bieber also did commercials for Softbank – but instead of co-starring with a sumo champion, the pop star teamed up with comedian Pikotaro (known in the US for the song “Pen Pineapple Apple Pen”). “Unexpected” in a school.

Unlike the ad campaigns of decades past, there was no claim that the pop star’s American fans would not see the ad. Official accounts were sharing behind-the-scenes footage even before it aired.

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8 Harrison ford

In the mid-90s, Indiana Jones Star Harrison Ford ran an ad campaign for a popular beer called Kirin Beer. A clip from the campaign gained internet fame – Ford in a sauna drinking an imaginary beer.

Beer is as popular as ever, and in 2014 hired George Clooney for a new TV commercial.

7 Arnold schwarznegger

Many Hollywood superstars have done overseas advertising campaigns to make money (most of which were not initially seen in the United States until the internet made them well-known), but few did. as much. Terminator star Arnold Schwarznegger. Throughout the ’80s and’ 90s, he was the face of several advertising campaigns in Japan – including one where he is a superhero who rides the product in space.

6 Bruce willis

Bruce Willis has been involved in several Japanese advertising campaigns including Kowa Coffee (which also operated Schwarznegger) and Daihatsu Combustion Engines – where Willis speaks a little Japanese.

5 Madonna

Musical icon Madonna has also benefited from making commercials in Japan. Like Harrison Ford, she was the face of a brand of alcohol – in her case, sake. The star wielded a katana blade and fought a huge golden dragon for a drink.

4 Nicolas cage

Nicolas Cage has produced a wide variety of commercials for Japanese audiences, including the promotion for the Sankyo Company. They are the creators of a game called Pachinko, which sits somewhere between the pinball machine and the slot machines. Players win small metal balls which can be exchanged for prizes. In a memorable commercial, Cage dramatically sings the name of the game over and over again on the piano, naming it as one of his favorite things.

3 Hugh jackman

Hugh Jackman has shown his range before, going from the action star of the X-Men films to singing and dancing in musicals, but few people know he also used his abilities to promote an American brand to abroad: Lipton Iced Tea.

The ads were part of a global campaign for the brand and featured an extensive dance routine choreographed for Jackman (who had a three-year contract with Lipton.) Unlike the celebrity-run campaigns for foreign audiences in the 1980s and 90, there was no attempt. to keep those commercials “hidden” from regular Jackman fans. The campaign was part of Lipton Ice Tea’s “Drink Positive” marketing strategy and also went live.

2 Keanu reeves

This sultry ’90s thriller starring Keanu Reeves was actually just an advertisement for a Japanese whiskey called Suntory Reserve. It’s a stormy night, and the star seems to be dialing in on his keyboard, when he’s surprised by a cat breaking into his luxurious apartment – which then turns into a mysterious woman. Fortunately, all she wants is to give him a whiskey …

1 John travolta

In a long series of bright and flashy mid-80s commercials, John Travolta swagged and danced among girls spinning cans of “Tokyo Drink” – which was often the star’s only line!

Although you wouldn’t know from the ads, the ads were part of an attempt to revitalize the product. The drink is an alcohol called shochu, and it was far from fashionable at the time – but renaming it “Tokyo Drink” and having a Hollywood A-Lister on the product’s face was a game-changer.

READ NEXT: Maximum Effort: How Ryan Reynolds’ Ad Agency Made Him Rich (uh)

Sources: Business intern, Cultural trip, Countryside, Next shark, Technological crunch, Teen vogue, The Guardian, NY Times

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