ANA’s Latest Ad Campaign — Offensive, Hilarious, Or Boring?

ANA unveiled a new commercial last week highlighting their expanded service at Tokyo Haneda Airport which is apparently facing quite a bit of backlash:

Via Yahoo News:

In the commercial, two Japanese men in ANA uniform discuss in English how they might boost the image of the airline as an international carrier.

One of them says: “Let’s change the image of Japanese people.” “Sure,” replies the other, who is now wearing a blonde wig and an improbably long rubber nose.

White westerners are often believed in Japan to have big noses, blue eyes and blonde hair, characteristics generally thought desirable among Japanese.

The commercial started airing on Saturday, though ANA has now issued an apology and is modifying the ad:

ANA spokesman Ryosei Nomura said the carrier wanted to express the importance of the planned expansion of international services from Haneda and to call on Japanese to go out to see the world.

“But we have received opinions different from the message that we wished to convey. We will modify part of the advertisement and will release the second version soon,” he said.

Earlier, an ANA spokeswoman acknowledged the carrier “has received calls from customers, mostly foreigners, complaining about the ad.”

“We apologised to each of the customers for having caused uncomfortable feelings and also thanked them for bringing up the issue,” she told AFP.

Curious to hear what you guys think — was the ad actually offensive, funny, or just kinda boring?

Regardless, better than when Korean Air launched service to Nairobi and highlighted “the indigenous people full of primitive energy.”

Filed Under: ANA, Videos
  1. Not offensive, and I feel like they could have tapped into a lot of other “western” stereotypes that would have been a lot funnier. Like they could have been overweight and talked really loud. šŸ˜‰

  2. Some new ad copy for ANA:

    “Fly out of Haneda to Washington, DC with ANA and enjoy the incessant partisan bickering, the grand Savannah, GA, and the indigenous white people with their very big noses.”

  3. Dumb.
    Why ANA thinks that a long nose and a blonde wig imply that they are expressing “the importance of the planned expansion of international services from Haneda” is completely beyond me. There simply is no logical connection.

  4. They should promote roominess and shorter travel distance from Tokyo by dressing their “gaijin” actors in morbidly obese fat suits!

  5. Calm down.. if you aren’t from Japan you just won’t get Japanese humor. What offends me is that people are offended over a wig and a big nose. PC is the death of this country.

  6. I find the add extremely offensive. Racial stereotyping is not smart advertising. If it had finished around ” do you want a hug”, I would have found it rather cute….

  7. I think it’s, technically speaking, offensive. Indeed, I think it’s intentionally so. In the sense that it’s plainly meant to give offense. But very mildly so. Mild offense is a pretty common form of humor. The line is difficult, but generally, the more funny the further you can push being intentionally offensive. Farting at a party is just offensive, because it’s not very funny. Louis C.K. is very funny and has made a living walking the line of meaning to offend but getting away with it, because it’s funny.

    Personally, I’m not offended, though a member of the targeted group. But the problem when you deliberately try to offend is that you sort of have to expect that some will be. That’s the point. And for those, you better hope it’s funny enough to overcome the offense given. The problem with this ad, is that it’s likely only funny to the group making the joke, not to the group targeted. That’s really the key — you have to make your joke funny to the group targeted, and this one doesn’t seem to qualify. When you do that, you sort of have bought you ticket and have to take the train wherever it goes.

  8. The most racist add and a lot of Japanese are. Out of tokio and osaka if you get sick try and find a hospital to take you, sit in a cafe/restaurant and wait, wait, wait. Just be thankfull that you are not a Korean in Japan!

    The complaints are from westerners in Japan, and if you speak Japanese then you would understand the nuances, it comes as a shock to those who move here.

  9. Hahaha, he looked like Owen Wilson with the wig and nose! I don’t think the ad was a good ad or really even sensical, but it did make me laugh when he turned around with the wig and nose on.

  10. it’s boring, but not as boring as the folks who complained. It’s just part of the japanese culture. BTW, any western personel was ever tried onseen in japan? or even allowed to enter it?

  11. @Bostonwalker

    I have stayed overnight at an onsen on 3 different occasions – I had a great time each time I went.

    Why would this be a problem?

  12. This ad is plain bad. Coincidentally, I am currently searching for ANA award space from US to Japan. Wonder if I should dye my hair blond before I go šŸ˜›

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