7 Weirdest Overseas Ads Starring Famous Characters

4. Justice League Meets Hyundai

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This might be one of the hardest ads to deconstruct, and it’s also one of the most recent. Hyundai is a South Korean automaker that’s been around since 1947 (and has sold cars in the US for decades). The manufacturer has been around almost as long as the Justice League, though one doesn’t really think of the two concepts as a pair. And even after watching this 2015 ad, you probably still don’t see the connection.

This looks ridiculously expensive, and it has to be to channel the destruction porn seen in Man of Steel. Batman, Superman, and Flash all looked ripped from the New 52 comic pages with careful CG recreations of their Jim Lee-ish costumes. Then, after all that painstaking work, the three heroes… turn into Hyundai cars so they can save people faster? I feel as dumbstruck as the woman in danger. First off, no car is faster than Superman or The Flash. Secondly, Batman wouldn’t trade his Batmobile for a Sonata. Thirdly, why did the Justice League turn into cars?!?! Last but not least… how is Batman running faster than The Flash in this? That’s his ONE thing, Bruce. Let Barry have that.

3. Gremlins Meet UK Tech And Snickers

Ever since Gremlins 2 took the holiday-destroying characters to new heights of foolishness, the Gremlins haven’t been seen all that much stateside. Even as virtually every other pop culture thing from the ’80s and ’90s gets a reboot, we can’t get a Gremlins 3 where Phoebe Cates and Zach Galligan are parents who team up with their spunky kids to battle another batch of Gremlins. Instead, we have to turn to England to get our Mogwai fix in this pair of ads.

The Snickers one falls into the same category as those Brady Bunch ones we have in the US, where pop culture figures act weird before eating one. Basically, they’re saying ‘You’re a dick when you’re hungry.” But of the two companies that hired the Gremlins, I actually prefer the one for BT Tech, a company that aids in solving IT issues. It plays a lot more with the spirit of the Gremlins, mainly that they are hellacious troublemakers who would delight in your inability to send an email. Though unless BT comes equipped with a bunch of very bright sunlamps, I’m not sure just how good they’ll be at fixing his problems.

2. Spider-Man Meets the Evian Baby

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The name Ini Kamoze probably doesn’t mean much to you, but the one-hit wonder’s globally popular hit was likely lodged in your brain in 1994. ‘Here Comes The Hotstepper’ went to number one on charts all over the world, and can still be dug up for a clever bit of nostalgia (though do kids today understand the lyric “I know what Bo don’t know”?). Kamoze’s single got a whole new lease on life thanks to an Evian ad that’s been viewed over 115 million times on YouTube, proving that people everywhere love to watch a dancing baby. However, if you somehow missed the European-sourced ad, then this Spider-Man commercial is pretty perplexing.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had a LOT of problems (so much so that it kinda killed the franchise and hastened a Marvel Studios reboot). One of the few things it got right was the best live-action Spidey costume to date, but even that can’t save Spider-Man the indignity of dancing with a baby-sized version of himself. Sure, it beats selling stamps for the US Post Office, but this is yet another reason I’m happy Marvel is planning Spider-Man’s future instead of Sony.

1. Simpsons + CC Lemon

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I love The Simpsons so much I record a freaking weekly podcast about them, but I was at first mystified by their popularity outside the states. I’ve met Australians, Brits, and Iranians who are as obsessed with the series as myself, despite how steeped The Simpsons are in America-based references. Despite their worldwide appeal, the family isn’t all that big in Japan, which makes it even odder that they starred in a series of soft drink ads over there.

In my all too brief trips to Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, every time I saw C.C. Lemon on sale, I immediately thought back to when I first saw these early 2000s ads. The Simpsons sure seem to enjoy this soda, despite the fact that you’d never be able to find it in an American city like Springfield. Not only that, but the ads are oddly obsessed with getting Homer undressed. I will give C.C. Lemon a thumbs up for animation quality on par with seasons 10-12, which were premiering in the US at the time when these commercials were confined to Japanese airwaves. Funnily enough, it was around this same time Homer discovered his Japanese ad doppelganger; Mr. Sparkle.

Did we miss any extra weird commercials from outside North America? Tell us all about it in the comments!

4 thoughts on “7 Weirdest Overseas Ads Starring Famous Characters

  1. I’m so glad you wrote something like this hank, I always found it weird seeing my favourite characters advertising something that I havent heard off. Id be very curious to know Chris’s reaction to the gremlins ads. On UK TV they also have Mr t in a tank selling you snickers. I am also surprised that there wasn’t any simpsons burger king UK ads on the list but I can justify the Japanese one being number one considering you saying they arnt as popular over there and the drink its still just as strange to watch. Would it be OK to suggest another top seven of the weirdest Japanese ads featuring western actors? Let’s get all lost in translation up in here.

  2. You can get CC Lemon in Honolulu, I’d be surprised if you couldn’t get it in bigger coastal cities. I know my hometown in Iowa had an Asian store, they may even have CC Lemon now, it’s a pretty major Japanese thing.

    I’d also be interested in a Western/Japanese crossover commercial feature.

  3. SHI SHI REMON

    SHI SHI GUREEPU

    Even though I can actually read katakana at this point, there is still nothing funnier than Engrish.

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