Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Boss

You probably don't associate American actor Tommy Lee Jones with absurdist humor. He's stoic. Earnest. And hard-nosed. Mr. Jones has a face that could hammer nails.

But you must toss those preconceptions to the trash bin, along with yesterday's sushi.

Because last week I stumbled upon this little gem.

A compilation of Japanese commercials for Boss Coffee. It's iced coffee in a can. Generally, I don't drink canned beverages. Much less coffee, which should only be served hot. And black. But after viewing these spots, I may be a convert.

Mind you, I don't speak a word of Japanese. I'll say arigato to the sushi chefs as I leave a restaurant. And am fluent in Sapporo and Kirin Light. But that's the extent of my ability to converse with someone from The Land of the Rising Sun.

None of that stopped me from enjoying these spots. In fact, with repeated viewings I've only grown to understand them less and love them even more.

Of course, you may be considerably more linear than me. Perhaps asking yourself, "What the hell did I just see?" Well, you've taken the time to come to this blog, the least I can do is not send you away confused.

Using my Internet search engine, Google (a stock I recently I sold, just hours before it went up 130 points in one day) I discovered the story behind Boss Coffee.

Turns out Tommy Lee Jones is an alien from another planet. He was sent to Earth to learn of our ways and report back to superiors on his planet. His character, aptly named The Jones, takes on many different roles, from school principal to cab driver to Buddhist monk.

He finds humans confusing, driven by emotion and altogether irrational. Not way off the mark. But all is forgiven because The Jones also discovers the soothing, satisfying taste of Boss Coffee. Which he consumes in mass quantities.

A long time ago, my art director partner John Shirley and I set out some ground rules for ourselves. Or as my friend Ernie Schenck refers to it Creative No-Fly Zones. Our list of self imposed prohibitions was never very long, mostly because we're hacks and would do anything if it got a laugh.

At the top of that list was a promise to never do any commercials that involved aliens.


But after watching extra-terrestrial Tommy Lee Jones squeeze an undigested fish out of a pelican's throat, we might have to revisit that oath.


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