The most awkward ad in the universe has just hit YouTube. Posted on Wednesday, it's already going viral with 242,800 views.
The ad is a TV spot featuring Scott Oelkers, the president of Domino's in Japan. Oelkers is selling an iPhone app that lets Japanese teens use a smartphone to order Domino's pizza. If you've ever seen a very un-hip man try to market to teenagers, you might have some idea what's coming.
The video apparently makes itself appealing to Japanese teenagers by featuring popular Japanese "Vocaloid" Hatsune Miku. For those not familiar with Japanese pop culture idiosyncrasies, "Vocaloids" are computer generated singers originally created as marketing tools for the "Vocaloid" series of music synthesizer apps. The virtual singers eventually became so popular that they started doing their own "live" concerts, spawned a comic book series based on their adventures, and now are being used to advertise a company completely unrelated to Vocaloid, Domino's Pizza. It's as if the Geico Gecko got a talk show, a sitcom and a series of self-help books to his name before being asked to advertise for Starbucks.
The usual ads with Hatsune Miku typically feature anime-esque scenarios, like Miku trying to deliver pizza on an improbably slow moped. But this latest ad's laughability is all unintentional. Oelkers explains what a Vocaloid is in totally self-assured tones (if you want to know what "mansplaining" is, look here), while raising his eyebrows knowingly and making sudden, inexplicable hand gestures. The camera every so often zooms in on his eyes, upping the general impression that Oelkers is, in fact, a creepy mannequin. Meanwhile, Miku sings robotically in the background, sounding perky and synthesized all at once.