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September 1, 2021

Schwa-chan-egger in the 80s: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Most Bizarre Japanese Commercials

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, Hollywood celebrities made extra cash by doing cheesy commercials in Japan. And now, they are coming back to haunt them. That included Arnold Schwarzenegger, who did a number of TV ads for the country in his heyday.

There are a few reasons for this. Back in the 1980s, the Internet wasn’t really a thing, so the chances that American audiences would ever see these, often silly, ads were pretty slim. Celebrities also felt that being seen in advertisements was “selling out,” and people wouldn’t take their other ventures as seriously, whether it be sports, fitness, or acting. With the advent of social media and personal brands being integral to advertising, this mentality has been completely flipped on its head.

In Japan, there is no word for “selling out.” Japanese celebrities would do this and see no issue, especially back in the 1980s. The reason companies in Japan wanted foreign celebrities endorsing their products was because they wanted to get the Japanese people excited at the idea that other cultures liked their local goods.

This compilation video includes over a dozen Arnold Schwarzenegger Japanese commercials the actor did in Japan from 1987 to 1992. In them, he hawks everything from vitamin drinks to ramen noodles to coffee drinks. There are even some Japanese commercials for his films The Running Man and Total Recall.

While advertising groups aren’t allowed to disclose how much they pay their U.S. stars, actor Dennis Hopper quoted saying, “I couldn’t believe what they were paying me. If I could do one every year, I could retire.” And in 1996, Entertainment Weekly reported that U.S. stars could make anywhere between $500,000 and $2 million for a two-day shoot.

1 comment:

  1. 裏切る uragiru---pretty close to the meaning of sellout. But yea, Japanese "talents" have no real sense of either in most cases, 'cause for most their agencies tell them what to do.




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