On March 11, the Tohoko earthquake and tsunami left the northeastern part of Japan in ruins.
People were displaced, missing or dead. News coverage reported on the devastation. But what company wants to be the official sponsor of a calamity like this?
Advertisers yanked their spots from television, leaving a huge void. In its place, AC Japan, an Osaka-based non-profit organisation that runs public service announcements, began airing commercials that underscored Japanese values, such as the importance of greetings or being nice to grannies.
Thing is, since the vast majority of sponsors yanked their commercials, these spots are all that people are seeing.
The "Po Po Po Po~n" spot stresses the importance of typical greetings in Japan, such as what to say when meeting people, in the morning or before going to bed. There's a jingle and word plays on animals. For example, "konnichiwa" becomes "konnichiwan" ("wan" refers to "dog") and a mutt appears. "Sayonara" becomes "sayonaraion" ("raion" is "lion" in Japanese). The commercial was made back in 2010, but due to recent events, it's on the television all the freaking time.
On the upside, my two-year-old's greetings are greatly improved.
The tune was written by a 23-year-old singer from Sapporo named "SaKi". She also voiced the various animal characters in the spot. As irritating as it is to have the commercials song stuck on one's head, I quite fancy the way she says "ohayo" ("good morning").
The other music she's done seems different - and not nearly as annoying! Sister site Kotaku Japan discovered that in 2009, SaKi even uploaded her arrangements of the themes from the classic Mother role-playing games, Mother 2 and Mother 3.
The Mother games were created by Shigesato Itoi, who is best known in Japan for being a copywriter, not a game designer.
So check out Saki's take on the Mother 2 theme "Smiles and Tears" - and get that stuck in your head!
The incessant AC ads are getting to the point where people are starting to complain! Some don't like that they are seeing the same ads over and over again, calling them "annoying". Others hate the way "AC" is sung at the end of the spots. While regular Japanese ads can be annoyingly catchy, too, it's the sheer frequency that these spots are appearing on television that is getting under people's skin.
Of course, as many Japanese netizens have pointed out, there is a way to avoid the irritating commercials:
Don't. Watch. TV.
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