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So Exactly Why Doesn't Nicole Kidman Want This Commercial To Be Shown In The U.S.?
October 5, 2002 7:21 PM   Subscribe

So Exactly Why Doesn't Nicole Kidman Want This Commercial To Be Shown In The U.S.? Here in Portugal, for instance, you can't blink without seeing the ruddy thing. Movie stars increasingly have a very profitable but extremely embarrassing advertising life which they're understandbly keen to keep secret from the American market. Wonderful websites like Japander (do check out Jodie Foster's endorsements of the Honda Civic Ferio and Keri Cosmetics, won't you?) conspire to keep them deservedly humble. So why does this double standard exist? Do these movie stars really think that globalization (not to mention the Internet) is just a myth?
posted by MiguelCardoso (31 comments total)

 
Jacques Villeneuve has a Honda Civic ad, where he says something like "There is a Honda engine inside this Honda Civic!" I wish they showed that ad in the US during GP weekends.
posted by riffola at 7:24 PM on October 5, 2002


understandbly I forgot to mention Windows Media is required for the first link and Quicktime for the second.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 7:34 PM on October 5, 2002


It is because a "serious actor" would never bow down to selling product in commercials in the US. Leave the hawking of soap, department stores, and bubble gum to the likes of Carrot Top or Jerry Seinfeld. We wouldn't want to appear as sell outs!

Of course it is hard to say no to a big sack of money to advertise outside the US. You can never have too much money.

Obviously the big time movie actors are aware of globalization and the Internet. But as long as you can't see their spots on US TVs, they can retain their clout.

The rider in Ms. Kidman's deal with the Spanish department store [and its agency] is just so the spot doesn't end up on one of those wacky US shows where they show foreign commercials. This is done all the time. Adage has a long history of making 'news' out of common things.
posted by birdherder at 7:38 PM on October 5, 2002


Even if I did speak (and understand) perfect Spanish, I don't think I would have any idea what the Nicole Kidman spot was trying to sell, which may be why she doesn't want it shown. Love the slugs, though! As a gross generality, it does seem that non-American TV spots are more edgy, and wittier than their American counterparts.
posted by yhbc at 7:43 PM on October 5, 2002


I liked the slug one too. My current favourite is the ikea lamp commercial. If you haven't seen it yet, go to www.unboring.com and click the TV to watch it.
posted by FissionChips at 7:54 PM on October 5, 2002


Even if I did speak (and understand) perfect Spanish, I don't think I would have any idea what the Nicole Kidman spot was trying to sell

Clearly, it is selling Nicole, and doing a marvelous job. I'm buying.
posted by rushmc at 8:01 PM on October 5, 2002


She doesn't want to 'sell out' in her own backyard...
posted by Shane at 8:13 PM on October 5, 2002


Shane - what's interesting (at least for us Iberian peninsular people) is that this commercial for El Corte Ingles, the Spanish equivalent of Macy's, is directed by the Spanish director Amejandro Amenaber, who directed Nicole Kidman in the very serviceable film The Others. When you watch the ad it quickly hits you that the atmosphere is almost wholly lifted from that very movie, albeit with much less death and ghosts and a lot more sex.

Besides, wonderful Nicole Kidman's backyard is Australia, not the U.S. Have MeFi's Aussies ever seen her in any Australian commercials, I wonder?
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:24 PM on October 5, 2002


I just think its interesting that American audiences, evidently, lower our opinion of celebrity flacks more than international audiences do. I mean, its tough to see any connection between the qualities that theoretically govern the quality of the product actors provide us (acting ability, physical attractiveness, historic tendency to appear in enjoyable films/shows) and the choice to appear in commercials. What is selling out and why is it repellent to Americans?
posted by gsteff at 8:46 PM on October 5, 2002


I negotiate rights usage for advertising as part of my job - geographic and market exclusivity is written in all of them. In short, if I want Nicole Kidman to pitch for me in my market, I don't want her working for anyone else, so she can't negotiate lucrative contracts from others. That's why her contract would stipulate where the ad couldn't be shown (my guess is it lists several jurisdictions, including Australia). If a contract for a Spanish department store took her out of the running for US endorsements....that would be bad business.

While I don't doubt that most celebs would rather we not know they do ads in foreign markets, I don't think there's anything weird about the contract.
posted by Salmonberry at 9:07 PM on October 5, 2002


We are talking about actors, people that play a dramatic role for money, and ads are logically part of that simple job description. The problem that Americans seem to have is that we (they) prefer to keep idols separate from consumerism, maintaining a fllimsy separation between the sacred (glitterati) and mundane (adverts).

Additionally, I would suggest that Americans need to maintain a class based distinction between "art" (movies, and the associated artists), and blue collar hucksterism like ads. This is of course an illusory division, but it allows us to maintain our sense of class-satisfaction.

Conversely in Japan, I get the distinct impression that actors and musicians are much more "of the people" in their self-marketing, and thus I assume in their perception.
posted by i blame your mother at 10:45 PM on October 5, 2002


Points about exclusivity taken, but it is weird how actors who would never stoop to hawking products in the US regularly do it for foreign markets, e.g. an Arnold Schwarzenegger ad that was in a previous MeFi thread on this topic (which I'm too busy eating and posting to go look for).

Americans are a lot more puritan about this sort of thing -- Nightline was showing how Sabado Gigante, the biggest show in Latin America, runs product promotions woven right into the fabric of the show -- and how American TV used to do the same, witnessed by Johnny Carson barking like a dog at a can of Alpo held by Ed McMahon. The reigning kings of late night -- Leno and Letterman -- have, I've read, insisted on no such promos in their generous contracts, but Conan O'Brien, rising star that he may be, has done them as commercial bumpers. Still, it's limited to the host holding the product and trying to keep a straight face as he parrots the slogan; and you'd never see this anywhere but late night.

There are actresses -- Sarah Michelle Gellar, and now Julianne Moore -- who'll do high-profile beauty product ads, but few men will do product ads; the only one I can think of at the moment is Michael Clarke Duncan, playing a juiced version of himself, oohing over a Lincoln sedan. At the low end, you have Burt Reynolds hawking Maaco, or Mariette Hartley, sounding desperate, for Eddie Z's Express Blinds. Both seem to be pretty much the fate that actors closer to the A list are avoiding like the plague.
posted by dhartung at 10:56 PM on October 5, 2002


Conversely in Japan, I get the distinct impression that actors and musicians are much more "of the people" in their self-marketing, and thus I assume in their perception.
I think so. There is a lot less money for Japanese stars, so they sell all sorts of things from cars to dubious "health" drinks. It bothers me when Hollywood stars go ahead and read the nonsense English in the script, like Tiger Woods' "It's wonderful one!(sic)" Nothing I have seen beats Dennis Hopper in the penguin suit, a bath salt ad that ran about 8 years ago.
posted by planetkyoto at 12:49 AM on October 6, 2002


Miguel, I can't recall Ms Kidman spruiking anything here.

Michael 'Kramer' Richards appeared in ads for something, but I can't remember what.
posted by emf at 1:18 AM on October 6, 2002


Previous El Corte Ingles ads used Sharon Stone and George Clooney, amongst others. The ads here that have most foreign stars are for Freixenet, with Meg Ryan, Anthony Quinn, Paul Newman, etc, all pronouncing Merry Christmas (Bon Nadal) in an excruciating accent.
posted by Zootoon at 4:22 AM on October 6, 2002


I've heard Gene Hackman and Richard Dreyfuss doing voiceover ads on American TV, and just yesterday I heard Sean Connery.

MetaFilter: much less death and ghosts and a lot more sex.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:57 AM on October 6, 2002


"Riiiich Corinthian Leather"

Ok, Ok, so he wasn't actually a *star* but he'll always be Khan to me.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:14 AM on October 6, 2002


you'd never see [in-program promos] anywhere but late night.

They're a routine part of live sports broadcasts. And then there's The Price Is Right.
posted by hilker at 11:15 AM on October 6, 2002


Besides, wonderful Nicole Kidman's backyard is Australia, not the U.S.

That occurred to me later last night. I guess I assumed she had moved to Hollywood (like Paul Hogan. Mel Gibson? Is he still in Oz? Probably.) But I remember Nicole describing herself as a "real Aussie gull (girl)." But I suppose America is her "primary market"? Maybe not--I'm sure all of her films get exposure in the UK and Oz.

BTW, I enjoyed The Others, despite a slight similarity to Sixth Sense (and possibly Jacob's Ladder, while we're here. Did anyone ever compare Jacob's Ladder to 6th Sense? Also Soul Survivors, a recent "teen" type film with Eliza Dushku from Buffy--not sure if Miss Dushku realizes how derivative that film is of Jacob's Ladder).

Sunday's always a good day to digress...
posted by Shane at 11:33 AM on October 6, 2002


Continuing the slight digression... The Australians claim Nicole as one of their own, but I'm pretty sure she spends the majority of her time in the U.S. Mel Gibson is one they don't even bother to claim. He was born in America and has spent most of his life there.

The funny thing to me is that Nicole Kidman's sister Antonia is the big sellout here. She hosts a movie review show and she's always hawking some cheesy product on TV. As far as I can tell she's got no recognizable talent, other than being pleasantly bland and Nicole's sister.
posted by web-goddess at 11:59 PM on October 6, 2002


% Bart and Homer find a crew filming Woody Allen boxing a punching bag.

Oh. [ahem] Hello. [ahem] So many rice crackers claim to be low-cal, but only Fujikawa Rice Crackers make your interiors go bananas! What did I do to deserve this? ... Oh, right.
-- Woody Allen, "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo"
posted by krisjohn at 12:22 AM on October 7, 2002


being boring ... I understand that Nicole Kidman was born in Hawaii, thus making her a US citizen as well as an Australian one.

Re: claiming Kidman as 'one of our own' - I have to say I'm not that bothered one way or the other :-)
posted by different at 3:25 AM on October 7, 2002


Here in the UK Samuel L Jackson has just done a campaign for Barclays Bank, one of the biggest, meanest high street banks. Rather than making me revise my impression of Barclays (wow, big-money-grubbing, little-guy-screwing high street banks are COOL!! does anybody respond to ads in this way anymore anyway??) it has caused me to lose all respect for him as a person. Acting is supposed to be an art form after all, and prostituting your art and your personality to hawk a BANK and make a bit of extra cash is pretty sad in my opinion.

Unless Mr Jackson really does believe Barclays Bank is bastion of nobility in a corrupt world. Somehow I doubt it.
posted by plasticbaby at 3:28 AM on October 7, 2002


I still don't understand those Samuel L Jackson ads. Which makes me watch them. Which is what they are designed to do, right?

Metafilter: Sunday's always a good day to digress...
posted by muckybob at 4:29 AM on October 7, 2002


Acting is supposed to be an art form after all, and prostituting your art and your personality to hawk a BANK and make a bit of extra cash is pretty sad in my opinion.

But that's how the art gets done, baby. That's how the art gets done.
posted by tommyspoon at 4:34 AM on October 7, 2002


The Australians claim Nicole as one of their own, but I'm pretty sure she spends the majority of her time in the U.S.

So? You don't lose your nationality just because you live overseas as an adult. Kidman was raised in Australia, had her early acting successes there, and so on. She was born in Hawaii only because her Australian father was studying there. Nic is as Aussie as.
posted by rory at 5:34 AM on October 7, 2002


Heh--I can't help but wonder now: How do you all feel about the Crocodile Guy? Who is uniquely Aussie these days, who are you proud to claim? Is Peter Garrett cool? Is he still an MP? One Aussie I knew complained that Garrett was a "city type," despite his outback image. Born and bred in Sydney?

Um, "G'day."
(By the way, just for the sake of stereotypes, I love Vegemite and musk lollies, but could do without the charred lamb. And it sucks that they put Fosters in aluminum cans in the States now...)
posted by Shane at 6:42 AM on October 7, 2002


It's fairly laughable to me that the big Hollywood actors of today would ever worry about appearing to be sellouts by appearing in commercials. There's not one top level actor/actress who hasn't made an obviously awful movie during the peak of their career. I don't understand why anyone actually expects consistency from these people.
posted by picea at 6:50 AM on October 7, 2002


She was born in Hawaii only because her Australian father was studying there. Nic is as Aussie as.

I think that being born in the States gives you US citizenship under almost all circumstances, no? Having dual nationality doesn't make you any less Australian though (as I see it). (I don't even know if she does have dual, of course).

Heh--I can't help but wonder now: How do you all feel about the Crocodile Guy? Who is uniquely Aussie these days, who are you proud to claim?

I've heard stories about this croc bloke ... but don't know much about modern Aussie culture I'm afraid. Haven't set foot in the place for over three years. I think that just about all Aussies are pretty good value ... except for this bloke
posted by different at 3:49 PM on October 7, 2002


I look down on big time actors doing commercials because I don't understand why they would want MORE money. I mean, I'm sure Kidman and the like ("movie stars" not TV stars or those that haven't made it yet; except for Seinfeld who is swimming in it by now) get paid over a million dollars for 1 movie. 1 movie! How many of us would make that million every year (or more than once a year)? and be happy with it? So what about the rest of us -- are we complete scum because we make so little? I guess they're too good for huge amounts of money that the rest of us would never see at one time.
posted by evening at 5:38 PM on October 7, 2002


Have MeFi's Aussies ever seen her in any Australian commercials, I wonder?

No, never.

The funny thing to me is that Nicole Kidman's sister Antonia is the big sellout here. ... she's got no recognizable talent, other than being pleasantly bland and Nicole's sister.

No, but she has a distinct similarity to a much younger Nicole, when she first started acting and before she went to the US and became just like any other star (well, almost)
posted by dg at 5:43 AM on October 8, 2002


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