entertainment

JAL ad featuring Arashi in rural Hokkaido causes chaos as fans invade land

11 Comments
By Casey Baseel

Due to the unique nature of Japanese advertising, you haven’t really arrived as an entertainer until you’ve appeared in at least a half-dozen commercials. The symbiotic relationship is amazing to behold, as the general trust for domestic celebrities and corporations means that when, say, a popular actress appears in an ad for energy-efficient plasma TVs, viewers tend to come away feeling more positively about the product because of the endorsement, and at the same time more impressed by the endorser because of her growing career portfolio.

But sometimes commercials can be a little too effective, as Japan Airlines is finding out with one of its recent TV spots featuring popular boy band Arashi.

Since its 1999 debut, Arashi’s popularity has been skyrocketing, with no signs of slowing down. With a squeaky clean image and huge catalogue of pure-hearted, upbeat songs, the five-member unit has won over women of all ages in Japan, particularly those who find the performers of Arashi’s pop king predecessors SMAP too old, married, or occasionally drunk and naked in public.

Needless to say, marketers were quick to notice Arashi’s broad appeal, and you could create quite a debilitating drinking game by taking a shot whenever one of its members pops up on your TV screen. Japan Airlines (or JAL) has deep enough pockets to convince all five members to appear in the same commercial, as it did with an ad filmed in rural Kamifurano, Hokkaido.

In the 30-second ad, Arashi visits a cluster of five trees standing in the middle of a field. Noting there’s one tree for each of them, member Masaki Aiba murmurs, “Maybe we should call them the Arashi Trees.” His suggestion is quickly shot down by bandmate Jun Matsumoto, on the basis that the trees should remain nameless, so that they can continue to be free.

Apparently Arashi fangirls were too busy squealing with delight during the commercial to hear Matsumoto’s rebuttal, though, since the five larch conifers immediately became known to fans as “The Arashi Trees.” Since Arashi is so popular that even a new poster of them in a train station can draw droves of fans, the trees quickly became a popular pilgrimage site.

At first, this seems like a win-win. Kamifurano gets a few extra tourism yen, JAL gets to sell some plane tickets to Hokkaido. And the people making the trip…get to see where their heroes stood and recited their lines.

Unfortunately, it seems like some of the visitors to Kamifurano forget to pack their manners along with their digital cameras and Arashi albums. Local residents began getting irked when fans started parking in restricted areas, along with traipsing through private property on their way to get a closer look at the grove. Their anger was kicked up another notch when the fans finally departed, leaving their trash behind to blow across the field should a gust pick up. The final straw came when it was discovered that some Arashi fanatics were going so far as to shave off chunks of the trees’ bark to take home as souvenirs.

Things have gotten to the point where the trees’ owner, whose name has yet to be reported, is refusing to sit by quietly any longer. The landowner lodged a formal complaint with JAL, which resulted in representatives from the airline coming to Kamifurano in person to apologize. Unfortunately, since the JAL executives aren’t the ones directly causing the problems, this did nothing to curb the troublesome behavior of the visiting Arashi fans.

Faced with no other option, the landowner has decided to mar the view’s photogenic value to Arashi fans. But since cutting down the larches would be counterproductive to his goal of nature preservation, the owner has reportedly decided to add two more trees to the grove instead.

We have to say we’re impressed by his crafty, environmentally-sound solution. Here’s hoping Arashi doesn’t decide to bring on two new members in the future, even though we’re curious as to how big of a forest the man is willing to create in order to teach people some manners.

Source: Hamusoku

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- The Five Japanese Streets That People of Japan Most Want to Visit -- Japanese Band Apologizes for “Rip-Off” -- AKB48′s Yuki Kashiwagi Sparks Debate over “Vulgar” Video, Just as Planned?

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11 Comments
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The landowner lodged a formal complaint with JAL, which resulted in representatives from the airline coming to Kamifurano in person to apologize. Unfortunately, since the JAL executives aren’t the ones directly causing the problems, this did nothing to curb the troublesome behavior of the visiting Arashi fans.

Ah, the ritualistic apology that does nothing to solve the problem. Arashi should take 10 seconds in one of their billions of TV performances to condemn their fans for soiling their 'squeaky clean image'

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I am sick to death of these guys.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@pizza

Which part of Australia are you from?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Five trees to seven trees? Just be happy he's not going to add another 41 trees to the seven. Let's not go there...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Find me some trees as short as the Arashi members are, and then we can call them the Arashi trees.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

too many of these over the top johnnies oba san fans out there...man its just trees!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

my colleague broke up with his girlfriend he was living with because her arashi obsession became too much for him.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

or occasionally drunk and naked in public.

Didn't know one time meant occasionally......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Didn't know one time meant occasionally......

Didn't think anyone would take that so literally or get offended...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This man is brilliant, hard to find the four iconic trees when they're part of a whole grove. Lets just hope another popular band with more members doesn't decide to partake in a commercial there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This man is brilliant, hard to find the four iconic trees when they're part of a whole grove. Lets just hope another popular band with more members doesn't decide to partake in a commercial there.

Surely you're kidding. Fans will look at the seven trees and see this: five fully-grown Larch and two saplings. By the time the two new additions have grown to match the five others, the members of Arashi will be furoi nyu-zu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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