Japan from the inside out

You decide…

Posted by ampontan on Tuesday, August 11, 2009

HERE ARE two YouTube videos of recent television commercials in Europe. Both are about 30 seconds long.

The first seems to be for a paper manufacturer in The Netherlands. You can see it here.

Now for the second. I think, but am not certain, that the Dutch advertisement came first, because the second is currently being shown on British television.

We all know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, particuarly in television, but one wonders about the motivation for the imitation in this instance. While the first did have a connection with the product–paper–the second is the identical advertisement, but this time for a confection called Mikado. The link is rather far-fetched. And while the lady on the copier certainly is lovely, Asian models aren’t really needed to sell the idea. Other commercials for the same product use Western models. Here you go.

I don’t know…

Incidentally, the second is being shown after 9:00 p.m., known as the “watershed” hour in Britain for allowing more adult content on the airwaves. Neither advertisement would have been possible in the U.S. when I lived there, but I haven’t lived there for some time now. And considering the publicity the problems with cell phone camera use received here a few years ago, I’m not sure it could be shown in Japan, either.

3 Responses to “You decide…”

  1. Overthinker said

    Wow, blatant ripoff. I did not realise Mikado were sold in the UK – I bought some when I was in France a couple of years ago, as I just had to with that name. At the time I thought they were a cheap knock-off of Pocky, but apparently the name refers to the game of pick-up-sticks, which is called Mikado there, rather than as a reference to the Japanese origin of the snack.

  2. St John said

    I’ve seen the advert in Britain. Quite amusing and harmless, really. Probably wouldn’t be allowed in America because the ‘Moral Majority’ would start shooting people in their outrage. Didn’t know it was a rip-off from another advert though.

  3. Mulboyne said

    The Mikado advert is the original. It was first shown in France and won some industry awards nearly ten years ago. It’s not particularly surprising they used Asian actors: the product is called “Mikado” and it’s just Pocky marketed by Ezaki Glico under a different name via a joint venture. It has popped up on British TV now because Kraft launched Mikado in the UK in February.

    Double A Paper is a Thai company. They used Asian actors for the versions they showed in their main Asian markets like Thailand, Hong Kong, and China while Caucasians actors were shown in Europe and Australia. There are two versions which use Caucasian actors. The one shown in Holland you already link to. The other version ends with the woman hitting the man over the head with a ream of Double-A Paper. That one was shown in Australia and maybe even Singapore because it is the version on the firm’s Singapore website.

    Some version of the advert has also apparently been shown in Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Vietnam.

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