I think there need to be more commercials with non-English speaking celebrities. Case in point: The two really funny commercials currently out featuring Yao Ming.
Yao speaks very little English, and because of this, the advertising people working on these commercials are forced to be a lot more creative about how they use him since they can’t have him spout “witty” dialogue, and end up constructing much funnier spots.
The first one is one that I think most people have seen, with Yao and Verne Troyer (aka Mini-Me), but click here if you haven’t seen it. It’s a perfect example of how restraint and subtlety can be a lot funnier than people loudly yelling about how extreme their Mountain Dew is.
Though I do take a couple points off for using Jeff Goldblum for their voiceover talent. His voice just creeps me out.
The second ad I haven’t been able to find online quite yet, since it just ran for the first time on the Super Bowl yesterday, but I thought it was one of the better ads of the Bowl (though for this year, alas, that’s not saying much).
Yao goes into a New York souvenir store, and asks if he can write a check (in Yao’s accent, this comes out, “CaIwricheck?”), and the clerk goes “Yo!” and points to a sign stating checks are not accepted. “Yao,” he tries to correct her.
This goes on for a few seconds, a manager is brought over, and it’s pretty silly to describe, because the execution is much better than the description. Suffice it to say, it’s funny, and Yogi Berra is eventually involved.
Anyway, I gotta give to the creators of these ads for taking something that could be a huge hindrance (a non-english speaking star) and turning it into a huge advantage by spending more time coming up with funny concepts.
Now if only the lunkheads who came up with that dumb Dodge Ram ad with the guy hocking a disgusting piece of beef jerky at the screen could listen to the subtler people who created these two ads…maybe ads wouldn’t suck as much.