Photo: Suntroy
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Tommy Lee Jones gives pandemic advice as coffee-loving alien in Japanese commercial

7 Comments
By grape Japan

For many, the defining example of a Hollywood actor advertising products in Japanese commercials may not even be an actual one, but the character Bill Murray portrayed in "Lost in Translation" to hold up a glass of whisky and say, "For relaxing times, make it Suntory time." The real life go-to example these days actually endorses the same company, but instead of whisky, it's canned coffee, and instead of a jaded star doing it against his will, it's Tommy Lee Jones.

Since 2006, Tommy Lee Jones has been doing a series of commercials advertising Suntory's Boss Coffee (canned coffee) playing the character of "Alien Jones." Alien Jones is an alien (if that wasn't clear from his name) who is visiting earth and observing humans in Japan as he works a variety of jobs. While many Hollywood stars film one-off commercials in Japan, perhaps part of the reason the Boss Coffee series has lasted so long is that Jones is said to love spending time in Japan, and is also very committed to the role of a dry, befuddled, but somewhat inspired by human character alien.

Proof of this is in the latest commercial from Boss, in which Alien Jones imparts crucial advice to earthlings in order to get through the novel coronavirus pandemic. Using appropriate clips from previous commercials, he advises washing your hands (in a waterfall), wearing a mask (floating in space), exercising (dancing as a police officer), and not giving up as we prioritize life over convenience or fun to fight another day.

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© grape Japan

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7 Comments
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His entire Boss series is brilliant.

If you have not seen the older commercials, they are available on YouTube and well worth watching!

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I love it !

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Suntory time !!..

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiQnH450hPM

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I really like this! I've seen ads (and read in his book) where Arnold Schwarzenegger makes TV ads in Japan. I didn't understand a word of this but Japanese TV commercials are innovative, fun and amusing while most TV ads in America are obnoxious, shrieking, annoying, unfunny, false, banal and just plain stupid.

If I was in Japan watching the tube ads like this would entice me to try what they're selling. This is creative and really really like this!

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@starpunk, I'm in the same boat as you. I got hooked on Japanese culture watching anime in my late 50s. Ads in the US are a mixed bag, which explains why the Super Bowl commercials are so popular: it's just too bad that the creative forces in America aren't as creative as they are in Japan. I could also point out the actual cost of the commercials here versus there. but production costs, regardless of CGI tech, between the two companies is huge. Also, the use of YouTube to allow people to see the commercials when they choose shows the popularity. Put out a good commercial, and the people will come: not only for the commercial, but for the product.

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John N SweganToday 02:45 am JST@starpunk, I'm in the same boat as you. I got hooked on Japanese culture watching anime in my late 50s. Ads in the US are a mixed bag, which explains why the Super Bowl commercials are so popular: it's just too bad that the creative forces in America aren't as creative as they are in Japan. I could also point out the actual cost of the commercials here versus there. but production costs, regardless of CGI tech, between the two companies is huge. Also, the use of YouTube to allow people to see the commercials when they choose shows the popularity. Put out a good commercial, and the people will come: not only for the commercial, but for the product.

When America was treated to a total solar eclipse (I observed it) in 2017 Chiquita Bananas released CGI animated ads detailing the eclipse, and informing that much of North America will see a 'banana in the sky' ('crescent' sun resulting from the moon covering the sun partially) and reminding viewers to wear their shaded eclipse glasses when looking (PSA). Informative, enlightening, creative, amusing AND advertising for Chiquita bananas. This was the best TV ads I have seen in the US for years! It told us what we needed to know about the solar eclipse and promoted a product, and it was fun. I wish more TV ads could be that innovative in America again, I remember some really funny ones up till the early 90s when I was in college.

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