Tuesday, March 13, 2012


More ads.  This time, it's the Japanese soccer players edition.

The last time I showed Japanese player ads, it was Hasebe and Uchida advertising Puma and Adidas, respectively.  It's pretty hard, in my opinion, to get those kinds of ads wrong.  Well-known soccer players + well-known soccer sponsors is a hard combination to botch.  As long as you show the soccer player being, well, a soccer player, and wearing the sponsor's soccer gear, you can send a clear message of "If you wear X Brand, then you can play like Soccer Star Y too."

But what happens when those soccer players start endorsing products that have no obvious connection to soccer?

Here are a few such examples with my interpretation below.

Yuto Nagatomo:

"Soccer players and actors drink beer and get drunk together."

Shinji Kagawa:

"Shave your face -- your legs and arms will be so smooth that gold lines will skim off you."

Keisuke Honda:

1st 15 second spot: "I've got it all: the private jet, the line of yes men, the briefcase full of money...oh wait, I don't have the...oh wait, yes I do, the mints, the girl and the fancy car."
2nd 15 second spot: "I've got it all: the private villa, my own personal staff, the girl and the mints.  What more could a guy want? Oh yeah, for the mints to double as an MP3 player.  Now I've really got it made."

Does it work?  Does it sell?

I think most of these ads just raise questions for me ---

"Does Shinji really even need to shave?"

"Why would you want your mints to double as an MP3 player?"

"Hasebe doesn't drink during the soccer season because it affects his playing.  Does that make him the rule or the exception?"

They also, interestingly enough, somehow manage to also front as ads for their given soccer gear sponsors.  While those gold lines were skimming off of Kagawa, all I kept noticing were his beautiful orange and yellow Adidas cleats.  (The logo was covered up but everyone who knows the slightest thing about Kagawa knows his cleats are from Adidas)  Same with Nagatomo, who is wearing a Nike shirt and is playing with a soccer ball with a well-placed Nike symbol.

Honda's commercial avoids the soccer subject altogether.  If you didn't know he was a famous soccer player, you'd really have no idea.  The result is an ad that raises questions but is definitely clever enough to get a smile.

It seems then, that, at least for me, when soccer players decide to endorse other products, it might be best to leave the cleats at home.

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. While watching the first ad, my eyes fixed on the first words my brain could understand. These, unsurprisingly, were the english ones. This led to some misunderstandings.

    My somewhat confused reaction to the first ad:

    Oh, they're advertising Off!.
    Wait, are they drinking bugspray?
    Oh, it's not bugspray.
    Is that the Beatles in the background?