Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sumo Star Asashoryu in Fanta Commercials

While I was exploring Tokyo, I spotted a large ad for Fanta near Shibuya Station.

The ad campaign's spokesman is the biggest name in professional sumo, Asashoryu. He is one of two wrestlers currently at the rank of yokozuna.

I saw this one a few days later at the shopping mall in Sano.

I'm especially interested in the ways that American companies adapt to local markets, and this instance is especially cool. Sure, it's just an ad campaign, but I think it's interesting for a foreign company to tap into something as traditional as sumo wrestling(my sumo experience here). According to a tiny article on JapanToday, Asasyoryu plays "the role of a 13-year-old exchange student from Mongolia "FanTaro"". The article is straightforward enough that there's not a lot of room for interpretation, but I learned a little bit from the snide comments from readers. Sumo wrestlers aren't supposed to be seen in public wearing western style clothes, but it seems that special permission was given by the Japan Sumo Association, most likely involving a dump truck full of money.

Here are a couple of the TV spots. They are actually pretty funny.

In this one the big guy introduces himself to the class and they all freak out and run away.

I think I understand what's going on in this one. The three kids all come home late, and the mom asks FanTaro where they have been. He replies "club", and the mom imagines them rockin' out on the dance floor. The kids drop trow to reveal their sumo clothes and say they were at their club at school.

They are talking too fast for me in this one, but it involves the underclassman FanTaro being bullied by some older guys. This one is funny for me because there are several of these punky crazy haired kids at my school too.

You might notice how tiny the can is in that last one. It's called a Fanta FuruFuru Charge. There's gelatin and carbonated liquid in the can that is mixed by shaking. I think it tastes nasty, but that might be because its so foreign to me. The first time I bought one I didn't realize that it wasn't a normal soda. I ended up having to throw it away because the chemistry of the whole thing is ruined if you don't shake it before opening. Very strange.

I had Angelica try one and she concurred: Nasty!

One of my most common Seven-Eleven purchases is Melon Soda Fanta. Its super good. I better stock up before I leave.

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