I had breakfast on Monday with a entertainment lawyer who used to book a lot of these expensive Japanese ads using foreign talent. She said it has decreased significantly due to lower budgets and lower popularity of foreign talent in Japan. So these clips on Japander.com are probably going to end up as priceless gems, a genre that died with the Japanese bubble.
One of my favorite commercials ever is Arnold Schwarzenegger in Arinamin V's commercial. He is playing mah-jong with important guests. He does a huge faux paux by winning the round when he should have let the guests win. His boss scolds him. Then he sneaks off to a corner, drinks the special drink while the customer is telling his boss the deal is off. Suddenly, as the drink takes effect, Arnold is transformed into a glittering entertainer and the guest is showered with mah-jong score counting stick and everyone is shouting and cheering. A MUST SEE. Here it is. (Or click the image...)
Japander.com hosts video clips of American stars who have advertised in Japan, from Brat Pitt to Stevie Wonder, with Luc Besson and Harrison Ford thrown in between. Some of the clips are amusing to watch for American audiences, presumedly because most of these folks wouldn't advertise consumer products in the United States. While the content might be funny, the site has a strong derisive tone: "Japander: a western star who uses his or her fame to make large sums of money in a short time by advertising products in Japan that they would probably never use." Somehow it's hypocritical for these stars to shill for Japanese consumer products, as though American stars who advertise in the United States always use what they promote? Either way, many of these clips show funny sides of familiar stars. Quicktime required.