When Shinichi Shinohara won his silver medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, it’s unlikely he imagined that in 17 years time he’d be practicing his judo skills on 196 virtual frozen lemons to promote a whisky cocktail drink—Suntory’s not-exactly-catchily-named ‘-196°C Strong Zero Lemon'.
The retired judoka does this with humour, however, deploying a startling range of facial expressions as he reduces fake flying fruit to dust in this ad by Shingata and Dentsu. But then Shinohara is no stranger to commercial demands: these days he’s a regular on Japanese chat shows and in 2015 he starred in an ‘Attack on Titan’ parody poster for a spa complex in Osaka. (Ad Nut is confused, too.)
Still, Ad Nut can only hope that for the sake of his dignity, Shinohara wasn’t required to provide the sound effects that accompany his moves in this ad. The grunts and groans that get increasingly loud as the video progresses put Ad Nut in mind of a herd of wounded elephants.
Combine these with smashing glass noises and the thunderous chords of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, and the cool, pared-back visual setup in this video risks having less of an impact than it could have. It’s simply too noisy (and the grunting too annoying) to focus.
Being an impatient sort, Ad Nut would also like the tempo of lemon-smashing to step up earlier than it does, two thirds of the way through the film. That’s 36 individual lemons destroyed in slo-mo before things pick up, which in Ad Nut’s view means squeezing this particular fruit a little too dry. The final third of the film is all the funnier for being pacier and slicker, with a nice little joke at Shinohara’s expense at the end:
Shinohara: I can't squash this lemon, Mr Director!
Director: I'll draw that with CG, so no problem!
Shinohara: With CG...?
Creative Director (Suntory Business Expert Limited): Kensuke Shigeno
Creative Director (Suntory Business Expert Limited): Ayaka Taniguchi
Creative Director (Suntory Spirits Limited): Masasuke Sugimoto
Creative Director (Shingata Inc.): Yoshihiko Kurosu
Planner (Shingata Inc.): Naruhiro Gonpa
Planner (Dentsu Inc.): Seitaro Miyachi
Planner (Dentsu Inc.): Yumi Fujisawa
Art Director (Dentsu Inc.): Syota Yabe
Producer (Soda! Communications Inc.): Jun Ishikawa
Production Manager (Soda! Communications Inc.): Teisuke Ido
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