Sakeru Gummy, a Japanese gummy candy, is one of the many iconic chewy treats produced by UHA Mikakuto. In 2017, they hired an agency Hakuhodo to produce an 11-part television commercial series to promote Sakeru Gummy. Owing to its now-infamous catchphrase repeated over and over in the commercial series, it is now known as the ‘Long Long Man’ ad.
While the commercial mainly focuses on 2 main subjects, Tooru-san and Chi-chan; a third one, the stranger is repeatedly introduced for an engaging plotline. In a captivating video essay, the commercials centre on Chi-chan’s love for Sakeru candy by switching in between the regular Sakeru candy; Tooru-san and longer Sakeru candy; the stranger.
What follows is the praise of product placement in a unique storyline for an advertisement. A disclaimer for any advocates of political correctness or sententiousness would be to suspend any personal judgements to enjoy the commercial series
Source: Japan Candy Box
Source: Japan Candy Box
In the first part, the couple Chi-chan and Tooru-san are enjoying each other’s company. This is where they seek the chance to advertise regular Sakeru candy. They make it quite evident with the conversation taking place between them and with the product shot due to the nature of his hand holding the packet as he peels the gummy candy to share between them.
In the most beloved aspect of these commercials, everything that takes place in the short duration of the ad circulates the candy. Thus, as he peels it; she remarks how much she adores his face while he does so and mentions; on a related note; how she wishes to watch it for a longer time.
Once he places the candy in her mouth, her eyes stray over to the stranger in the park. The stranger, over seductive music, dramatically peels the candy showing the audience through the eyes of the girl; how long the candy he is holding is.
On a zoo date, the writers made sure that Chi-chan pointed out and exclaimed about any animal with a long body part. They used this opportunity as a target to steer the conversation between the two; to her fascination with longer items. But just as she renounces it, they immediately switch her view to the same stranger from the park, peeling the longer Sakeru candy.
A Secret Lover
In a smart idea, they inserted 3 versions of the same product within this commercial. They introduced a new rare flavour, mango Sakeru candy through Nooru-san who is trying to send a bulk amount of this particular kind to his girlfriend. Of course, the regular two versions are marketed through their respective representatives by their appearance; the stranger and Nooru-san.
The Wrong Decision
The compensation for advertising 3 products at once in the last commercial was compensated through the story in this one. Only one, the longer Sakura candy and its uniqueness was explored through the view of Chi-chan and her infatuation with the stranger; who appeared as the delivery person here.
A Painful Discovery
Coming back in the swing of clever advertising, they make Nooru-san appear at his girlfriend’s home; holding the candy proclaiming he wanted to enjoy it with her. Of course, he ends up finding out with the evident longer candy on the scene; that she had been unfaithful to him by finding solace in the stranger.
In a heartbroken episode, he tries pulling the candy presenting to the audience that the candy can be made longer only during the manufacturing process and not so much by pulling it out; despite being a gummy candy.
In a conscious flow of the story, Chi-chan goes to her friend who blames her for her infidelity and in a beautifully connected note to the last ad about the product; explains how both candies are the same. The regular candy is a cut-up version of the longer Sakeru candy.
A New Beginning
As the 8th part of the commercial series play, it is evident that both have made up. Nooru-san in a bid to propose to Chi-chan, asks how she feels about proposals. Upon hearing a negative answer, he hilariously chooses to use the peeled candy to make a cross sign as a cue for the hired actors to leave.
It is in this and following advertisements when the product placements start to feel a bit forced, but the engagement bought about by the alluring storyline for an ad, keep it going. Though Chi-chan holding the candy as a kiss-barrier and imagining it as a seatbelt weren’t the most well-thought-out product placements.
On the wedding day, every attending person is seen showering the pink candy instead of flowers and holding it unpeeled as they walk by; as a symbol of their union.
The stranger arrives with the bouquet of longer Sakeru candies, peeling ones as he steps out; a symbolism to break the union.
In the most progressive and unexpected turn of events, the stranger confesses his love to Tooru-san and asks for his hand.
Hakuhodo used this final cue to settle a battle between the two arch-nemesis and say that both, regular Sakeru and long Sakeru candies can be enjoyed.
Long Long Man is an interesting, rewatchable ad; a compliment high-enough for any advertisement.