American actor Richard Gere is appearing in an advertising campaign for the rebranding of French soft drink Orangina in Japan. In the commercials and on posters, Gere, 62, appears as Tora-san, the lovable loser in Shochiku’s popular 48-film series of Japanese comedy movies.
There are two different TV commercials — the Monsieur version and the Cafe version (see below).
In the Monsieur version, Gere, dressed as Tora-san, gets off a train as he returns to his small French hometown of Saint Paul de Vence. The familiar music of “Otoko wa Tsuraiyo” plays in the background. In the Cafe version, Gere is sitting in a cafe and thinks that a cute waitress is flirting with him, but she is actually winking at a guy sitting behind him.
The carbonated drink is made from different kinds of citrus fruits, including orange, lemon, mandarin, and grapefruit. It contains peel and pulp, has a natural color with light bubbles.
It was first concocted in 1933 by pharmacist Dr. Trigo from Valencia. Back then, it was called Naranjina. It made its debut three years later at the Marseilles Trade Fair where a French Algerian, Leon Beton, bought the recipe and concept and began marketing it.
Orangina has been produced worldwide by Suntory since 2009. In North America, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group has manufactured the product since 2006.
Suntory started selling the new-look Orangina on March 27. The new bottle replaces the old pear-shaped bottle.