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September 27, 2005
Lost in translation aka the decline of Hollywood stars in Japanese ads

Do you remember Bill Murray flying to Japan to promote a whiskey brand? Well, the happy hour for Hollywood stars starring in Japanese Tv commercials is almost over. They haven't disappeared yet, but they aren't as requested as in the past. The LA Times has an excellent article on the evolution of the advertising market in Japan, saying there isn't a unique explanation for their decline. Some advertising industry analyst say this is due to the reduced ad budgets. Some other explain that, because of the Internet and the globalization, Japanese people no longer need American pop culture highlighted through Tv ads, because they have it just one click away.


Whatever the reason, the fact is that Japanese agencies are increasingly turning to more affordable Japanese talents. The other option is to hire Korean stars, who are becoming more and more popular now that the drama series called "Winter Sonata" has achieved an incredible success.

Tomoko Kamiguchi of Dentsu Casting & Entertainment, explains the cultural change:

"Five years ago, two years ago even, I could never have imagined this happening. After 'Sonata my clients are all looking for synergy with this Korean drama. The Japanese market has changed. We have accepted Asian talent. After 'Sonata,' we no longer have an allergy to Asia."

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