Japan's 8 Finest Star-Studded Whisky Commercials
If you were to measure a nation's charisma in weight, Japan ranks about a blue whale in sheer exuberance. From a country that has blue beer, air-conditioned pants, and iPhone docks made out of Ramen, it shouldn't be a huge surprise that they've got the weird-celebrity-endorsement game locked down. While rappelling down a YouTube K-hole, I came across a few key whiskey commercials from our favorite east Asian country starring some of America's finest celebrities from times past and present.
Thank you, Japan, for giving America a constant supply of incredible products and content—like the dog from that movie, Balto, we'd all be lost without you.
Who?! Orson Welles
For: G&G Whiskey
Analysis: For the genius auteur Welles will be remembered as, he made a surplus of questionable career choices after, ohhhh, 1941. One of the most infamous being a commercial for frozen peas that ended up with threats of walking out and forced fellatio. This G&G Whiskey commercial has Welles looking bored, annoyed, and slightly buzzed for sure. Still, you can't beat that booming, reassuring voice.
For: Suntory Reserve
Analysis: It's honestly pretty difficult to decipher what's going on in this commercial, but from the look of things, Keanu Reeves is in love with a woman who moonlights as a cat when whiskey is involved. Either that or Keanu is a supernatural being who can shape-shift—at this point, the latter is a bit more believable.
Who?! Sammy Davis Jr.
For: Suntory Whisky
Analysis: Thanks to Bill Murray via Lost in Translation, Suntory has become one of the better-known whiskies out from the far east. This spot, featuring famed Rat Pack member SDJ, is simple and perfect—just some a little booze and a lot of scat. Not that kind of scat. Pervert.
Who?! Leonardo DiCaprio
For: Jim Beam
Analysis: Right off the bat, you can see the Japanese influence in this spot with the quick editing and mostly-unnecessary special effects. Locking down our favorite boyfriend-of-multiple-super-models, Leonardo DiCaprio, was a good move on Jim Beam's part as America would likely drink a big jug of elephant piss if he endorsed it.
Who?! Helena Bonham Carter
For: Suntory Malts
Analysis: There's something a little off-putting about this spot, as if the contents inside the Suntory Malts can cause...maybe death? A pre-Fight Club Helena Bonham Carter clearly can't keep her sh*t together after one sip of the stuff. Maybe that's why she always plays such wild roles.
Who?! Mike Tyson
For: Suntory Dry
Analysis: "Hi, I'm Mike Tyson. I like Suntory Dry." Considering Mr. Tyson personally told me (see above link on his name) that he took the part in The Hangover because he was dead broke, it's not a huge surprise to see him in Japan.
Who?! Duran Duran
For: Suntory Whisky Q
Analysis: Why exactly Suntory thought legendary '80s pop band Duran Duran needed huge bobble-heads to promote its whisky will forever be a mystery to, both, American and Japanese audiences. The crying stop-motion animation doll, on the other hand, makes perfect sense.
Who?! Sean Connery
For: Suntory Crest
Analysis: Okay, clearly Suntory has the money to wrangle celebrities from America all the way to Japan to appear in their commercials. Sean Connery a.k.a. the best-cast James Bond aside from George Lazenby was an excellent choice for this 1992 spot. Connery may not be the best role model for whiskey-drinkers, flagrantly sharing his affinity for smacking women, but damn does he look cool sipping booze.