Decades before Bill Murray’s character in Lost in Translation (2003) went to Japan to star in commercials for Suntory whiskey, Cheryl Ladd did it first. At the peak of her Charlie’s Angels fame, around 1980-81, Cheryl donned several sexy outfits, grabbed a brandy snifter, and became the spokesperson for Suntory Brandy in a series of Japanese print ads and commercials. These ads were strictly for the Japanese market, meaning I didn’t know of their existence until about twenty years ago when I stumbled upon them on the interwebs and exclaimed, “Goldmine!”
I was and always will be a huge fan of the original Charlie’s Angels, so these ads were pure manna from the gods when I discovered them. Seeing the beloved Kris Munroe enticing me to join her for a drink while wearing a sexy, sparkling, black evening gown; a sexy Zatanna-style magician’s getup; and a sexy bell hop outfit (are you sensing a theme?) was enough to send me into a nostalgia-laced acid trip. I mean, I love Cheryl Ladd* and I love brandy! The commercials are genius too, with Cheryl showing off her killer gams and pleasant pipes—don’t forget, she’s recorded some albums too. The jingle is a serious ear worm and so early 1980s.
Cheryl, Suntory, and the Japanese ad execs behind this campaign deserve the highest praise possible. These ads are amazing, and I’m eternally grateful that they exist.
*Just because who doesn’t love Cheryl Ladd, at the end of this post I’ve included a couple other, non-Suntory photos from that same time period. You’re welcome.