Tom Hiddleston's Centrum ad raises eyebrows and sparks parodies

Charlie Spargo's picture

How would you advertise a multivitamin? A popular English-language advert in China for Centrum, Pfizer's multivitamin brand, features Hollywood star Tom Hiddleston acting a little odd.

Released on Hiddleston's Weibo account and linking to Centrum's online shop, the minute-long spot is full of slow talking, extended pauses and disembodied hands. Hiddleston plays a busy husband coming home early (very early) to cook his partner a breakfast of eggs and what looks like raw, rainbow vegetables divided neatly by colour.

He then leaves for work again without hesitation. It's proven to be a huge hit in China, where it was released, but Western audiences' frame of reference for advertising has led to a slightly different judgement.

Certain Western social media users have described it as "weird". It's clearly made for a different audience, however, presented in vertical format for mobile viewing, released in a market where celebrity endorsement seems to do a lot for a brand's success.

One British Twitter user played on the point-of-view framing of the advert and created a Peep Show parody using the Centrum advert, interspersing it with clips of Robert Webb's character, Jez, interacting with Tom Hiddleston.

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