Lunch in Translation: Sell It Like Beckham

Mega-stars don’t demean themselves in crappy third-rate commercials, right? Well, they do in Japan! Just like Bill Murray pimping for whiskey in that movie where he has a borderline inappropriate relationship with Scarlett Johansson, major celebrities seem to have no qualms about trading on their fame for even the most mundane products…as long as it’s in the Land of the Rising Sun. And so we bring you Lunch in Translation, a recurring series in which we showcase what food products the world’s biggest celebs are hawking in Japan.

David Beckham is about as famous as you get.  He’s known worldwide as a soccer legend.  He married a Spice Girl and became half of one of the most paparazzi’d couples around.  And then he singlehandedly put professional soccer on the map here in the States.  OK, well, maybe that last one didn’t work out so well. But just because he wasn’t able to convince Americans that watching a scoreless soccer match was exciting doesn’t mean he’s not a dynamic pitchman, and so we present Becks shilling for a chocolate company called Meiji.

Full critique, and the final verdict on how big a sell-out this ad is…after the jump.

Cheese Factor: David Beckham is an athlete and not an actor.  That fact is abundantly clear in this commercial.  The folks behind the spot had the good sense to limit their directions to “stand there, look intense, smile, then kick the soccer ball.”  For this, Becks likely pulled down seven figures. Good deal.

Foodstuffs: Becks is hawking some sort of nut-crust chocolate bar, which has absolutely nothing to do with soccer, sports, or anything remotely related to being a world-class athlete, but I think we’re well past the realm of logic when he apparently starts losing his mind and seeing giant candy bars.  On second thought, hallucinatory candy sounds pretty appealing, and I can’t lie, after watching the spot several times, I could go for some chocolate covered nuts right about now.

Sell-Out-O-Meter: The fact that they don’t have him doing any ridiculous acting and that it’s not for an obscenely inappropriate product means it’s not too bad.  On the other hand, it looks like it could have been filmed ten minutes from his suburban London home, meaning that he was able to rake in huge piles of cash without having to put in much effort at all.
Gobs of Money + No Effort Other Than Semi-Creepy Smiling = Sell-Out

Lunch in Translation’s Official Orson Welles Sell-Out-O-Meter (out of a possible 5.0) says:


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  • 80 Proof April 24, 2009  

    I smell an Oscar.

    Or is that chocolate?

  • Jeb April 24, 2009  

    that soccer ball is 5 years old…

    All the big stars do this! Haven’t you seen that Conan superbowl commercial?!

  • BS April 24, 2009  

    It just doesn’t make any sense. Why would the flashing candy make him more excited to score a goal. I think I need a Japanese translation – anyone?

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