“Crazy” Japanese Commercials As Seen by Americans

Commercials in America are known to be unique. Come Superbowl season, companies do their best to create some of the most creative and amusing ads in television history. While American advertisements are often universal, it is clear that different countries around the world have their own taste in the media they consume. 

A big contrast to American commercials are those of Asia, and more specifically Japan. Their commercials may be seen as bizarre by us Americans, but the “unorthodox” characteristics are a common theme throughout many Japanese ads. The Fine Brothers Film, a YouTube group who is popular for their reaction videos released a video in April 2013 featuring various YouTube personalities commenting on Japanese commercials being shown to them for the first time.

The viewers find the commercials as very strange and even creepy at times. It’s described as very different from the commercials we often see on American television. In the portion of the video where the film makers ask the guests various questions, a common conclusion was that while it may seem strange to Americans, these commercials are probably the norm in Japan. The interests of Japanese consumers may be completely different than here in regards to humor, artistic taste and even the expectations for persuasion. A fact shown in the video says that researchers have found that the Japanese often find companies who create straight forward commercials selling a product to be deceiving and prefer watching ads that provoke a positive feeling. 

The power of these commercials are evident as well in that many celebrities appear in Japanese commercials. As the video said earlier, many celebrities make side income my appearing in their commercials such as Ben Stiller, Natalie Portman, Beyonce and Britney Spears. This past summer, Portuguese soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo starred in an ad for a facial exerciser. The video might be seen as strange but like many other Japanese ads attempts to be fun, quirky and happy. 

In comparison to American ads, Japanese ads seem to be from a completely different planet. Although to us, these commercials may come across as weird, the Japanese know how to reach their consumers in a innovative way. Even Americans know of these commercials and that shows their ability to get people to watch and talk about the commercials and their product. In retrospect, the Japanese might watch American commercials and find them to be bizarre as well so it truly is interesting to look at the contrast in cultures and their advertising methods. 

One thought on ““Crazy” Japanese Commercials As Seen by Americans

  1. This is a very interesting perspective on global advertising. The Japanese have a completely different view than Americans on effective commercial advertising. The videos above look like something you would see during an SNL skit. This article makes me wonder how the cultural views of advertising evolved. Why do commercial advertisements vary from country to country?


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