Monday, April 18, 2011

Interesting Commercials

After the March 11 earthquake, when every TV channel was 24/7 scenes of death and destruction, advertisers pulled all their commercials, so as not to be perceived as trying to make a profit off other people's suffering. Instead, commercials by the Advertising Council, Japan, aired with public service messages urging people to be kind, polite, considerate.

Good messages in themselves, and pretty well presented, actually. For example, one shows a high school student on the train with friends, looking at a pregnant woman and wanting to offer her his seat but not doing so, stating that people can't see what you feel in your heart, only the things those feelings cause you to do. Later he follows his impulse and helps an elderly woman climb a staircase. These messages lose effectiveness, however, when the same 4 commercials are shown every 5-10 minutes until the shrill sign off of "A-C--! (or "A-shee! in Japanese pronunciation)" sets your teeth on edge (just what does that idiom mean, anyways?).

But one very popular commercial has cartoon characters using polite phrases like 'hello', 'thank you' in a jingle that is really quite addictive. Take a look. Now take a look at what some inventive soul has done to that commercial to symbolize the power and rebirth of Japan and the Tohoku region.

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