I can't remember the last time I saw a TV ad for a piece of software. Not watching much TV doesn't really play into this. TV ads are just too expensive for the average software publisher to purchase. The market in Japan is different, though. It'll support just about anything with folks in weird costumes doing even weirder things.
So it's my pleasure--no, really, I feel good about this--to introduce you to Symantec's Norton 360 ads. Called CM's in the local parlance, they feature a yellow Power Ranger-style superhero called Norton Fighter getting attacked by a gang of mostly black-clad ninja-type characters who're supposed to resemble viruses and other malware.
This is interesting for two reasons. One, of course, is the craziness that is Japanese pop culture. Throw it--he, she, or whatever concept it is you'd like to anthropomorphize--in a costume and make it a do a campy dance in the middle of the street. Or just forgo the street, and aim for the entry lobby of one of the world's largest electronics stores, Yodobashi Camera, as the makers of this Norton ad did, and you'll get people's attention right-quick.
I've lived in Japan and traveled extensively, and this is the only place in the world where you can do this kind of thing. Just about any other country, and you'd attract the attention of the authorities. Which is scary, since Japan has some of the strongest police-enforcement laws in any democratic country. (You can be arrested and held without bail or being charged for 21 days, for example.)
The second is that if they were given the money to make this commercial, then it indicates that some higher-up exec thinks that people pay attention to software commercials for products beyond operating systems. And not just any random piece of software, or a game, but security software, the most boring set of applications on the planet.
If the video clip above has made you hungry for more, Symantec's Norton Fighter Web site has more vids and a comic strip for your viewing pleasure.[Via JapanProbe]