The Year’s Weirdest Ad Is So Completely Bonkers, It Crosses Over Into the Sublime

From Japan, of course

Japan prides itself on ludicrous advertising. But every year, a few commercials go beyond—transcending the market’s typical weirdness and reaching a state of truly inspired lunacy.

“Gravity Cat,” which won a silver Lion in Cannes, came close, but its oddness was relatively mild—and also wrapped in jaw-dropping craft. But thankfully, another silver Lion winner from Japan has stepped in to take the prize.

Check out the spot below, from agency Asatsu-DK and production company Spoon. It would be a spoiler to reveal the advertiser, so just sit back and soak up all the screaming and yelling from actors whose true character reveals itself only at the very end.

Clearly the spot owes a debt to “Survival Billboard,” last year’s multi-Lion winner from Xbox and McCann London. But it stands alone on this year’s Cannes winners list in its ebullient oddness.

Spoiler: The ad pitches Tsuruya Co.’s kawara roof tiles. Traditionally made from clay, kawara tiles are highly durable in such brutal conditions like typhoons, earthquakes and fires—and have been used in Japan for more than 1,000 years. Their use is on the decline, though, so this campaign aims to emphasize the properties of disaster-preventing kawara.

Client: Tsuruya Co.
Asatsu-DK, Tokyo: Agency
Spoon, Tokyo: Production Company
Haruhisa Morikawa: ADK Creative Director/Copywriter
Masumi Nishibori: The Directors Guild Art Director/Editor
Daisuke Shibata: The Directors Guild Director
Shingo Ikeura: Freelance Cinematographer
Hiroyuki Ohta: Freelance Gaffer
Takeshi Suehiro: Sui Inc. Production Designer
Eisuke Saito: Spoon Inc. Producer
Ryo Matsutake: Spoon Inc. Production Manager
Takehito Kurobe: Mcray Colorist
Tatsuro Yokoyama: Mcray Flame Artist
Hiroshi Kawagoe: Frog Inc. Sound Producer