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Tom Hiddleston’s Chinese Centrum Ad Has Western Viewers Confused
In an era where people are constantly being shown ads for every product and service imaginable, advertisers have to find ways to be original. Sometimes it’s through flash mobs (gross) or sliding an ad between Instagram posts (annoying), and then sometimes companies film a bizarre first-person fantasy of Tom Hiddleston making breakfast for the viewer from inside their house.
In a new Chinese ad for Centrum, we presumably see a woman, or a man with small shaven arms, wake up and greet the day with a stretch. Then, this person heads downstairs where Tom Hiddleston is in a suit making a spread of chopped breakfast vegetables? There’s corn and cucumber and blackberries? Anyway, he pivots out of English and directly into perfect Chinese to say 还有你的善存 or Here’s your Centrum. Hands appear out of nowhere to smooth out his lapel, and he says he’ll be busy but “make it up to you, I promise.” Then he just… leaves.
The video, posted on Hiddleston’s Weibo account (??), has gone viral, and the Chinese market loves it, according to reporting from the BBC. Western cultures are a little less sure of what’s going on. But according to Professor Zhang Kuangjie, who spoke with the BBC, it’s a fitting ad for the culture. “Many female fans often consider their idol their imaginary boyfriend or husband,” Kuangjie said. “This ad appeals exactly to those fans’ fantasies.”
The vertically shot ad is a massive success for its Chinese audience who, like much of the world, is ingesting a lot of their advertisements through their phones. While Chinese viewers see it as getting a fantasy fulfilled, Western watchers are seeing something a bit more akin to someone breaking and entering to cook up a heart-healthy breakfast.
The whole thing becomes a lot more fun if you simply believe it’s not an ad but actually just found footage of some woman being surprised by the world’s worst breakfast chef. Oh, and Tom, if you end up swinging by, my flour is in the upper right hand pantry and buttermilk is in the fridge. I would like biscuits or pancakes. Thanks.