2003’s Lost In Translation is critically acclaimed comedy-drama starring Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray as Americans who meet in Tokyo. Murray plays an aging screen legend, in town to film a commercial for Suntory Whisky. The drink gets considerable screen time, particularly when Murray’s character is shooting his ad and tries to negotiate the language barrier in the process.
Suntory has had such Western celebrities as Sean Connery and Keanu Reeves appear in their advertisements. However, Masaki Morimoto, general manager for Suntory’s premium-spirits marketing department, said that the placement gave the product a much higher profile than it ever got from television or print ads. “It was a great boost for us,” he said. “Our company got famous internationally.”