Japan's 10 funniest tech-related ads

From breast-enhancing Intel processors to breast-enhanced Canon laser copiers, we dissect Japan’s most bizarre tech-related ads
  • Brad Reed (Network World)
  • 14 April, 2008 10:37

Even the most culturally sensitive among us has to acknowledge that Japanese commercials are... well, strange. First of all, most Japanese commercial actors hail from the Randy "Macho Man" Savage school of advertising whereby they look directly into the camera and shout the product name as loudly and excitedly as they can.

For example, imagine if Microsoft ended all its new operating system ads by having some guy yell "SNAP INTO VISTA!!!! OOOOOOO YEAAAAAAAAH!!!" and you'll get an idea of what many Japanese ads are like. Second, Japanese commercials will use sex to sell literally anything. Whereas American ads will typically employ sex appeal for products such as perfumes, clothing and shampoos, Japanese ads will use it to sell Canon color laser copiers.

A children's version of the band KISS tours Japan and fights Godzilla

Summary: Four young children get dressed up like cheese-metal '70s band KISS and pretend to sing and play guitar while visiting various sites in Japan. At the end of the ad, Godzilla shows up and begins blasting atomic fire out of his mouth; the children respond by giggling and blasting atomic fire from their mouths as well. This ad is for a Canon digital camera, by the way.

LOL Quotient: 4/10. The decision to have kids dress up as one of America's most embarrassing bands is perplexing, although strangely adorable.

ZOMG Quotient: 7/10. If only that giant radioactive lizard had been around in the early '90s to stop KISS from embarking on their unfortunate collaboration with Michael Bolton.

A man gets beat within an inch of his life because he can't stop thinking about Sega

Summary: A business man hears two children talking about Sega. For some reason, their conversation haunts him all day, and he can think of nothing else. He gets so distracted by this that he accidentally bumps into some goon in an alleyway who proceeds to beat him senseless. We then see him back at his home, where his wife is giving him medical attention. As the camera focuses in on his bruised face, the "SEGA" logo pops up on the screen.

LOL Quotient: 0/10. Unless you enjoy seeing people get clobbered merely for being fixated on video game systems, you won't find anything funny about this ad.

ZOMG Quotient: 10/10. We can't even imagine what the Sega marketing team was thinking when they concocted this ad. We wouldn't be surprised, though, if Nintendo tried to one-up them with a follow-up ad featuring the world's zaniest trampoline accidents.

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A man gets reprimanded by a talking dog for using an inferior mobile phone

Summary: A man is chatting on his mobile phone in the middle of a crowded street while a (very bad) Japanese Aerosmith cover band plays "Walk This Way" in the background. He then walks into a restaurant to apparently meet two colleagues for lunch. When he gets there, he is surprised to see an angry talking dog sitting in his seat, who proceeds to lecture him for keeping his colleagues waiting and for not using a Soft Bank handset. The logo of Soft Bank - a Japanese mobile phone company - flashes on the screen.

LOL Quotient: 6/10. When the dog starts yelling at the man, the camera does an ultra-rapid zoom-in on his face reminiscent of classic '70s kung-fu films.

ZOMG Quotient: 3/10. Who are we to question the will of a talking dog?

A man who lives in a haunted house installs Windows 3.1 onto his computer and blasts off into space. No, none of that was a typo

Summary: It was a dark and stormy night in a spooky house. A mad scientist sits at a large dinner table with his faithful servant sitting on the other end. The scientist begins pounding his fists on the table and shouting "WINDOWS!! WINDOWS!!! WINDOWS!!!!! WINDOWS!!!!!!" A chef bursts out of the kitchen and serves him a Windows 3.1 software package on a silver platter. The scientist smiles and begins creepily cuddling with the Windows box. Next, we see that he has installed Windows onto his computer. This apparently makes him so excited that he begins spinning around. He then blasts off into outer space.

LOL Quotient: 6/10. The idea that anyone could be this excited about using Windows is hilarious on its face.

ZOMG Quotient:10/10. The commercial was apparently scripted by hurling a magnetic poetry kit against the wall: Haunted house ... windows ... chef ... snuggle ... blast off!"

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Intel's Core2 Duo processor helps a girl enlarge her breasts

Summary: A teenage girl is awakened by her mother one morning and is surprised to find that her breasts have significantly grown. She looks at herself proudly in the mirror while her mother frets in the background. The camera then cuts to a picture of an Intel Core2 Duo processor.

LOL Quotient: 7/10. For a variety of reasons, this commercial would simply not be shown in America.

ZOMG Quotient: 9/10. It seems pretty clear that Intel is comparing the power of the two cores in its Duo processor with... well, we think you can figure it out. As we said, this commercial would never be shown in this country.

Intel's Centrino Duo platform turns a man into a werewolf and a giant talking bunny

Summary: A man and his girlfriend are having a romantic dinner and watching a cheeseball romantic comedy on her laptop. When the film cuts to a shot of a full moon, he turns into a werewolf. His girlfriend starts to freak out, and we get the Intel logo plastered on the screen. We cut back to the man, who has now transformed into a giant talking rabbit. His girlfriend continues to yell at him.

LOL Quotient: 4/10. The talking bunny-man at the end is worth a few chuckles.

ZOMG Quotient: 9/10. Intel apparently thinks it can get more customers by promising to turn them into animals.

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A giant chicken and a frog demonstrate the virtues of high-tech toilets

Summary: The Japanese apparently take their toilets seriously. As was reported last year, Japanese company Toto has constructed a high-tech toilet featuring an automatically-opening lid, a temperature-controlled bidet, a seat heater and a deodorizer. In the following Toto commercial, a giant chicken and frog give us a quick waddle-through the magical world of futuristic waste disposal.

LOL Quotient: 10/10. People in animal suits are dancing around a computerized toilet. If you don't think that's high comedy, then you've never learned to laugh.

ZOMG Quotient: 10/10. When, exactly, did birds and amphibians become qualified to teach us how to properly dispose of our waste?

A Canon Hybrid Laser Copier morphs into an attractive woman who fires high-quality color copies out of her chest

Summary: "Ho-hum. It's just another day of cube life in the office. Better make some coffee, fire up the laptop and... whoa, when did our Canon copier get replaced by that hot woman??? And she's shooting copies out of WHERE???" That's pretty much all you need to know about this commercial.

LOL Quotient: 8/10. As we've said, Japanese ads will use sex to sell anything.

ZOMG Quotient: 9/10. We will never look at our office copier the same way again. And frankly, we find that disturbing.

Arnold Schwarzenegger bursts out of a woman's head to sell an energy drink

Summary: Imagine if the evil computer network Skynet_ downed fistfuls of peyote and psychedelic mushrooms and decided that the best way to destroy humanity was by sending the Terminator to burst out of peoples' heads after they consumed a particular brand of energy drink. Well, that's what this ad from the Japanese energy drink Alinamin V seems to be depicting. It all starts off with a cute woman dancing and singing presumably about the drink when BAM! a laughing Arnold Schwarzenegger head pops out of her hat. Then they both start dancing and singing.

LOL Quotient: 9/10. It's often been said that David Lynch's major movies, from Eraserhead to Blue Velvet to Mulholland Drive, have all been attempts to construct violent nightmares that expose the depravity of the human condition. This Japanese energy drink ad achieves in 30 seconds what Lynch has strived for his whole career to create.

ZOMG Quotient: 2.5 billion/10. Not only does this ad not make us want to purchase Alinamin V, but it wants to make us forget that we've ever known of the existence of any liquids.