We have all seen Matthew McConaughey wax poetical about nonsense like bulls for his hilariously existential Lincoln commercials, but overseas, Hollywood celebs have been busy dancing for joy over Lipton Ice Tea, fighting over the last Nespresso cup, admiring their Dunlop Tires, and, in the case of latest foreign commercial star Taylor Swift, singing odes to Toyota in China for years. Doing commercials may seem beneath Oscar, Grammy, and Emmy award winners, but the truth is the overseas commercial market is a lucrative business. It's also a much different one — occasionally the ads are downright artsy, but usually they are completely bonkers. They also involve a lot of beverages and cars, but in a way that makes it in no way apparent that the commercials are selling — well, whatever they're meant to be selling.
So, in honor of Swift's newest gig with Toyota in China (for the record, the commercial itself is great and includes a snippet from her 1989 single "Wildest Ones"), hold on on tight as we descend into the land of celebrities in foreign commercials. There will be duels, dancing and... well, whatever Mariah Carey thinks she's doing in her commercial.
1. Taylor Swift Sings a Song for Toyota
Swift croons "Wildest Dreams" as if she is in front of a screaming crowd in these two Chinese Toyota Hybrid commercials. She is not in front of a crowd though; she is simply being accompanied by famous Chinese pianist Li Yundi in the first ad, and by a gorgeous Chinese woman in the second. The car is an afterthought in both ads, and understandable — Swift is front and center.
2. You Know Nothing Benedict Cumberbatch (Except Your Tires Are Dunlop)
Cumberbatch gamely plays up his upper-crust Britishness in order to make Dunlop tires look cool in this Taiwanese ad that finds him utterly lost without his butler. How could Cumberbatch possibly know what the weather is like outside if his butler is not wielding gloves and an umbrella? How could he manage to go on a date alone? Just like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.
But just look at those tires!
3. Hugh Jackman Dances for Lipton Ice Tea
Wolverine busts out his Broadway dance moves in a Tokyo hotel after one sip of Lipton Ice Tea in this Japanese ad. It's actually a fantastic commercial — but honestly, how can anything involving a dancing Jackman be anything besides delightful?
4. Wes Anderson and Brad Pitt Create A Mini-Moonrise Kingdom
This one is a can't miss for Anderson fans. The ad (which is for SoftBank) is like a mini-Anderson feature complete with saturated colors, twee overload, and a group of scouts that will give you Moonrise Kingdom flashbacks. The actual product gets lost thanks to the sheer sensory feast happening on our screens, but Brad Pitt nails his performance as a tourist.
5. Leonardo DiCaprio is the Hottest Bartender Ever in Japan
This ad is both educational and overflowing with hotness. First of all, did everyone besides me know the famous bourbon brand is Jim Beam and not Jim Bean? OK, fine then, let us move swiftly onwards to discuss just how sexy DiCaprio is in this short ad. He handles his ice ball with a proficiency most bartenders would envy, and then magics it into shaved ice with a snap of his fingers. Though this is a commercial, this is the opposite of selling out — this is basically DiCaprio throwing his hat into the ring to be the next "most interesting man in the world."
6. Gwyneth Paltrow Gets a Tip (Italy/Australia)
Paltrow just wants a martini in this ad for... well, Martini. Watching it in light of her recent SNAP challenge, the commercial becomes unintentionally hilarious for all the wrong reasons. First, Paltrow sneaks downstairs at a hotel with intentions of stealing two martinis, but then she gets mistaken for a bartender and due to her disgruntled "have a good night," she ends up with a $10 tip. The ad only ran in Italy and Australia, but it's a must-see.
7. George Clooney Drinks Nespresso
Clooney has done many foreign commercials, including a whole line for Nespresso meant for the European market. My favorite of the bunch features Clooney facing off with The Artist's Jean Dujardin for the last cup of their favorite brand of coffee. Their machinations escalate quickly from shoe swapping to sending in ringers to get what they want. It's less like a commercial, and more like an episode of CBS' The Odd Couple.
8. Mariah Carey Wins at Life
Honestly, I don't know what's going on in this commercial, but I love it — Carey really delivers on every level in this Nescafé/PlayStation commercial. First of all, the combination of Nescafé and Playstation is bizarre all on its own, but when we add in Carey speeding around invisible racetracks, winning a green screen soccer match set in space, and just generally beating the crap out of her costar, it turns into the best thing you will see all day.