Batman, Yoda, Spider-Man and more cashed in with these foreign advertisements. Now the world can finally see them…
Thanks to countless hours of TV viewing, I’ve seen famous pop culture characters selling everything in the United States. Charlie Brown hawking life insurance, Batman shilling fast food, C3P0 talking about immunizations – it has all gotten a bit boring. At this point you have to shove dozens of cartoon faces into a Super Bowl ad to get me to notice.
On the other hand, I’ve got boundless curiosity when it comes to seeing those same characters in commercials outside the US. Fictional characters like cartoon dogs or Kryptonians have universal appeal, so they’re sometimes borrowed to sell stuff in foreign markets, making it a treat for Americans to see them in a new light. How do ad teams in Europe or Asia sell products using American creations? The answer is surprisingly specific and universal at the same time.
7. The Looney Tunes Meet Walkers Crisps (UK)
Based on the logo’s similarity to Lay’s Potato Chips, you’re correct in assuming Walkers Crisps are the same salty treat, and are in fact owned by the same company. The Pepsi branded crisps are some of the most popular snacks in the UK, so it’s hardly a surprise they could afford the Looney Tunes for a 1999 ad campaign. What’s impressive is just how many toons they got.
Historically speaking, Warner Bros. hasn’t always treated the Merrie Melodies gang with the same respect Disney has for Mickey and friends, but this advert came during their most recent resurgence. As you can see, the toons are pretty similar to their 1996 Space Jam creations, right down to Lola’s inclusion as a damsel in distress (yet again). I do like the mean-spirited gag of Taz pushing a poor granny under a steamroller to steal her stuff, which seems more cruel than US ads from the same era. Sadly, this cliffhanger never paid off in Bugs saving the day in a later commercial. It’s not nice to leave us hanging, Walkers!
6. Snoopy Meets French Mineral Water
The Peanuts comics are works of art – seriously, they’ve been shown in the Louvre. But I understand people looking down on Charlie Brown and his friends. The kids from Peanuts have officially endorsed so many weird things that it’s easy to see them as sell outs. So what’s another strange ad joining that long list? Still, a French beverage isn’t the first I’d have put on the list.
Owned by the same folks as Dannon yogurt and Evian (more on them later), Badoit mineral water has been around for more than a century, so adding Snoopy and his trademark dog house to an ad certainly freshens up its image. However, I’m not sure how these ads are the best fit for the red and green versions of the bubbly drink. Snoopy seems pretty terrified of drowning in both glasses of water meant for consumption – that doesn’t really put me in the thirst-quenching mood.
5. Yoda Meets Cup Noodle
Japan loves to put American stars in commercials – an entire Bill Murray film was based on the idea! Even though we’ll see Tommy Lee Jones pimping Japanese coffee until his dying breath, marketers in the island nation are also quick to hire made-up folks to sell stuff. Case in point; Nissin’s Cup Noodle, an instant meal that’s also relatively popular in the United States as well. Despite being cheap noodles, Nissin clearly spent a lot of cash to get a Jedi master to represent their product.
Just like America and much of the rest of the world, Japan loves Star Wars, but this commercial makes the feeling mutual. The 2011 ad, timed for the Blu-ray versions of the films, has Yoda saying “May The Force be with Japan.” Now, we could be all nerdy and say that no country in our reality exists in the same one as Star Wars, but I’ll just chalk that up to Yoda’s near-infinite wisdom. Though you’d think that same knowledge would warm him of the health risks of sodium-filled packaged foods.
Batman turns into a car and The Simpsons get naked as we finish the countdown on the next page!