Johnnie Walker say they chose Bruce Lee for their new advertising campaign because he was a “game changer”, and really, who better than a teetotaling deceased martial artist to sell whisky in a language he didn’t speak?
SCMP explains why the advert is proving controversial with many Lee fans:
Filmed at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Causeway Bay, the advertisement stars Hong Kong actor and Bruce Lee lookalike Danny Chan Kwok-kwan. A digital re-creation of Lee’s facial expressions was pasted over footage of Chan’s face, and the narration was written to represent a combination of various quotes and philosophies that Lee had expressed while he was alive. Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, acted as a consultant for the project.
In the original ad, Lee is heard speaking Putonghua. A Cantonese version also exists, but it is dubbed – an odd choice considering Lee was a Cantonese speaker.
“The animation is, without a doubt, eerily real-life [and looks like] Bruce Lee,” said Edwin Lee, a Hong Kong filmmaker. “But to attribute all that talent so you can sell alcohol? I find it disgraceful. The man even abstained from alcohol…The fact that he is ‘revived’ in such vivid manner to promote a product [and] lifestyle he never conformed to nor has a choice in this matter is, I feel, immoral and shows you the lowest depravity of mass marketing these days. [And this is] all to break into the Chinese market, hence why we find the Hong Kong cultural icon speaking Mandarin.”
NB: From Wikipedia:
The uncanny valley is a hypothesis in the field of human aesthetics which holds that when human features look and move almost, but not perfectly, like natural human beings, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers.