This has nothing to do with Shanghai, or China for that matter. But we can’t get enough of these Japanese television commercials for Suntory Boss coffee drink featuring Oscar-winner and Harvard-grad Tommy Lee Jones. Jones has been appearing in Boss ads for a year now, we think, but we first learned of the campaign recently after a friend returned to Shanghai from Japan confused about the billboards he saw all over the place featuring huge, and not particularly flattering, head shots of the craggy-faced Mr. Jones.
The ad above is the most recent in the series. Here is how Japan Probe describes the plot:
… featuring Tommy Lee Jones as a space alien visiting earth and working at a Japanese host club. After a customer insults his appearance, Jones gets an extra “cool” host makeover. At the end of the commercial he declares this planet’s tanning salons to be amazing.
There are six more ads in which Jones plays an alien who looks like a human and enjoys drinking cold coffee:
No. 1: Jones visits a gyudon (beef bowl) restaurant
No. 2: Jones works in a warehouse
No. 3: Jones works in a supermarket
No. 4: Jones works as a mover
No. 5: Jones works as a mover (again)
No. 6: Jones works at a karaoke club
There’s a long tradition of Hollywood stars doing commercials in Japan. Some are celebs who want to appear “above” shilling products in the US but have no problem shilling products elsewhere (although, thanks to YouTube, these projects no longer stay secret). Then you have the Lost in Translation types who may be a little past their prime back home and take any fat paycheck they can get. Not sure where Jones fits — maybe he was just having fun?
We wonder when Hollywood types will start showing up in Chinese commercials (for Chinese products). You’ve got Shaq and Shane Battier wearing Chinese basketball shoes, but that doesn’t feel the same. And then there is Ronaldo’s odd Golden Throat relationship. There was also that Chinese suit manufacturer that was reportedly courting Bill Clinton to be their spokesperson.
But who will be China’s Bob Harris? Which Hollywood actor will say the line, “For relaxing times, make it Mao Tai time”?
Sean Connery is even money. But we like Keanu Reeves as a long shot.
For now, though, we’ll have to settle for fictitious celebrities like Entourage‘s Vincent Chase. Hey, bro. Drink this.