Meet Japan's Most Popular Ad Family

Through 6 years and 130+ spots, 'The Whites' remain No. 1 with viewers

The father is a human in a dog's body (for reasons "you're too young to understand," he once barked at his daughter), the son is a black American, and their maid is an alien incarnation of Tommy Lee Jones. They are “The White Family,” a staple of telecom Softbank’s marketing, and they have become the most popular recurring commercial characters in Japan. The family is made up of a father (Otosan), a son (Kojiro), a mom (Masako) and a daughter (Aya). Telling you much more about their family dynamic would require me actually knowing Japanese, since few of the many YouTube clips from the campaign have been subtitled, though you can read a great profile on the Whites' commercial success in The Japan Times. Like me, you may have stumbled across their ads before and been too distracted by the craziness of their antics to actually recognize it as an ongoing campaign—one that has been tallied as the nation’s favorite for six years running. The sprawling series of more than 130 spots, credited with vaulting SoftBank from industry newcomer to one of Japan's top mobile providers, have even featured cameos from Quentin Tarantino, Tommy Lee Jones and a real Japanese astronaut filming his appearances in space. For my fellow uninitiated, I’ve compiled some of the more interesting clips from the campaign after the jump. Disclaimer: Seeing more of these ads doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll understand them any more. Hat tip to WTF Japan Seriously.