“I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully people will watch my movies.”
– Leonardo DiCaprio
American actor Leonardo DiCaprio has established himself as the definitive contemporary leading man in the film industry, thanks to stellar performances in films like The Wolf of Wall Street and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He has several accolades to his name, including an Academy Award for Best Actor, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe among others. Given his star appeal, it is really strange to see that DiCaprio followed in the footsteps of Bill Murray’s washed up actor in 2003 film Lost in Translation and travelled to Japan for a whiskey commercial.
In Japan, celebrity culture often morphs into hyper-consumerist trends as a lot of actors, sports stars and artists are paid big bucks for making brief appearances in commercials for all kinds of products. Often seen as unmistakeable evidence of the tragic decadence of late capitalism, these bizarre advertisements are the best ways of conducting large-scale public programming. They do a wonderful job at convincing people that they can purchase the same products that celebrities love and use. A perfect example of this phenomenon was the 2018 mix-up where actress Gal Gadot tweeted an endorsement of a Huawei phone from an iPhone.
DiCaprio capitalised on the same impulses of consumerism in 2013 when he appeared in a Japanese commercial for a whiskey company. To be fair, he had actually expressed his love for Jim Beam whiskey even before he did the advertisement. After playing the antagonistic plantation owner in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film Django Unchained, Leonardo DiCaprio followed up with this truly strange advert.
In the Jim Beam commercial, the actor can be seen looking at a ball of ice with a crazed look as he repeatedly stabs it with an ice pick like a maniacal serial killer. He says “cool bourbon” after making a drink for himself with the spectacular power of telekinesis. It’s unclear whether Jim Beam was positing that alcoholism turns you into one of the X-men but the commercial is still pretty funny.
Watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s bizarre spot below: