TOKYO - Dressed in a white tuxedo and red bow tie, Sylvester Stallone clearly has something important on his mind. But it's not Rocky or Rambo.
"Ito Ham," the American movie megastar says in the Japanese television commercial. "0-kay."
In the print version, Mr Stallone is even more eloquent about Ito's processed meat: 'It is so delicious that it is a gift of love."
Mr Stallone is only one of many movie su-tah, as the Japanese call stars, showing up in advertisements these days. With companies paying top dollar and promising to run the ads only within Top Dollar, and No Image Problems the confines of this insular nation, Hollywood stars are eagerly appearing in commercials that they wouldn’t be caught dead doing in the United States.
Paul Newman, for instance, hums in an elevator before letting viewers know that Fuji Bank's credit card is his "main card." Arnold Schwarzenegger, in excellent Japanese form, slurps up a mouthful of steaming Nissin instant noodles.
John McEnroe, the tennis player, and his actress wife, Tatum O'Neal, joke together in matching shirts while holding up a box of Assess toothpaste.
James Coburn and Roger Moore both "Speak Lark," the slogan used in ads Top Dollar, and No Image Problems here for Lark cigarettes. Even Woody Alien, the reclusive film director, once did a stint in Japanese advertising, appearing in a 1982 ad to promote the Seibu department store.
Movie stars rarely do commercials in the United States, lest it tarnish their image and their marketability. In the United States, getting into commercials is often a sign a career is on the way down.
But when it comes to Japan, said Irving Axelrad, a motion picture attorney, "I tell them to do it. They pay a lot of money and it's a couple of days."
Mr Axelrad and Top Dollar, and No Image Problems others protect their clients' American reputations by demanding that "Japan-only" clauses be written into advertising contracts. The clauses impose heavy penalties on Japanese companies if the ad somehow gets shown in the United States. Shinobu Ina, a casting manager at Dentsu Inc., Japan's largest advertising agency, said, "They want the money from appearing in the commercials but they don't want it known in the United States. They want to hide as much as possible that they are appearing in commercials in Japan."
Agents for several movie stars refused to comment, or never Top Dollar, and No Image Problems returned telephone calls. Japanese companies were equally leery of publicity. One company spokesman, after first demanding anonymity for himself and his firm, would only say, "Our star hates to be mentioned."
Nobody would discuss the fees paid to specific celebrities, although ad executives in Tokyo said well-known American or European actors make between $500,000 and $1 million, with the heftiest pay going to only a few major stars, like Mr Newman or the British rock star, Sting, who appears in ads on behalf of Kirin beer.
According to Mr Ina at Dentsu, American stars have been appearing Top Dollar, and No Image Problems in Japanese commercials since the 1950s. At that time they were the ultimate status symbol, since only a few companies could afford them. Instead, most relied on Japanese actors and actresses, who routinely appear in commercials.
“When we heard we needed $1 million, well, we thought that is really a lot of money," he said.
But the world has changed.Thedollar has plummeted in the last years, and so American movie stars, like US golf courses and office buildings, have become quite reasonably priced in yen terms.
In fact, Mr Ina notes, the money is no longer a problem Top Dollar, and No Image Problems. The problem is finding enough stars.
Exercise 1. a) Read the text and choose the best answer.
1) Why are American stars 'eagerly appearing' in Japanese commercials?
a) The stars are paid large sums of money.
b) The commercials are only run in Japan.
2) Why do American stars rarely appear in commercials in the United States?
a) They are not paid enough.
b) In the United States, appearing in a commercial is the sign of a declining career.
3) Which of the following statements is true?
a) All actors are paid the same fees for appearing in Japanese commercials.
b) British Top Dollar, and No Image Problems stars can earn as much as American stars for appearing in Japanese commercials.
b) Give examples of celebrities advertising in Russia. Do you think that appearing in a commercial will harm their image?
Exercise 2. Read the text and answer the questions.
1. How can you comment on the title of the text?
2. What celebrities did the company use for endorsing their products?
3. What is the main advertising principle of the company?
4. How did Nike manage to achieve global success?
Nike: Celebrity Advertising
Back before the Swoosh logo and long before the days the company was called Nike, there was Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). It Top Dollar, and No Image Problems was the company Phil Knight, the founder, and legendary track coach Bill Bowerman created in 1964 to provide athletes with better shoes. Their first year sales totaled around $8,000. It wasn’t until 1971 that BRS introduced the concept of the Greek winged Goddess of victory—Nike. Well-known logo appears on the famous red shirts, Nike is the international empire today. By using famous athletes to endorse Nike's products, Knight has been able to expand into many different sports. In 1974 Jimmy Connors collected his Wimbledon trophy wearing Nike shoes. Carl Lewis jumped and ran in Nike shoes to win four Top Dollar, and No Image Problems gold medals at the 1984 LA Olympics. In 1995 Nike signed a contract with the racing driver, Michael Schumacher. At the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 Michael Johnson won the gold medal in the 400 metres wearing his now famous Nike gold shoes.
Nike's mission is to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. Knight himself says his number one advertising principle is to wake up the consumer, and Nike's adverts are daring and attention grabbing. One example is the advert of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi playing tennis in the streets of Manhattan.
Nike created a powerful image Top Dollar, and No Image Problems around the basketball player Michael Jordan. He became a superstar, and it was his image as part of the Dream Team, which helped the company to become world-famous. In 1997 Tiger Woods won the US Masters and Nike moved into another sport – golf. In 2000 the company signed a 300 million deal with Manchester United, which has 50 million fans worldwide.
Sportswear giant, Nike expanded its celebrity-advertising list to include hip-hop artist, Nelly. In 2003, Nike released 1,000 pairs of the rapper’s $120 limited edition Air Derrty sneaker. The sneakers reportedly sold out within hours.
Today, Nike's unmistakable trademark 'swoosh Top Dollar, and No Image Problems' is instantly recognisable on sports shoes and clothing the world over, and celebrity advertising has certainly been crucial to this global success. For the fiscal year ending May 31, 2007, the company reported record revenues of $16.3 billion, a $1.3 billion increase over last year’s earnings.
Exercise 3. Write an essay about the advertising strategy of a well-known Russian company.
Exercise 4. Match the terms with definitions.
|1. advertise||a) a product which can be recognized by a name|
|2. advertisement||b) a piece of paper used instead of money|
|3. banner||c) need for goods|
|4. below-the- line advertising||d) showing or exhibiting goods|
|5. brand Top Dollar, and No Image Problems||e) show of goods|
|6. coupon||f) to introduce a new product on the market|
|7. demand||g) a competitor|
|8. display||h) value given to something compared with its competitors|
|9. exhibition||i) to announce that something is for sale|
|10. launch||j) notice or announcement that something is for sale|
|11. rival||k) material on which an advertising message is printed|