Tom Hiddleston wades into James Franco-nian waters with his latest endeavor: A completely wackadoodle Chinese commercial for Centrum multi-vitamins. HUH? Yeah, I don’t know either.
As the ad opens, you (and by you, I mean the camera) walk downstairs to find the enchanting Mr Hiddleston, in an apron, making you a breakfast. He slides a heart-shaped egg onto a plate of breakfast salad. “I finished early,” he says to us, “so I thought I’d pop back and make you breakfast.”
He then says in Chinese “还有你的善存,” which can be translated as “here’s your Centrum”, or “don’t forget your Centrum”.
Then: “You look great.” SWOON.
“Probably be a bit busy for the next few weeks … But, um. I’ll make it up to you soon. I promise,” before rushing out the door.
Yeah. Sure thing, Tom. Whatever you say.
The Cut asks the questions we all want answered:
What is my (our) relationship to Tom Hiddleston, exactly? Is it romantic? Is he my caretaker? Why is he so worried about my vitamin intake? What was he doing in the middle of the night-slash-early morning that he “finished early”? Where is he going for several weeks? Why does he look so apologetic the whole time? Has he wronged me?
The BBC theorizes:
This was clearly an ad made for a very particular market, experts say. For many of his Chinese fans, waking up to a suited Hiddleston is a fantasy come to life, so the point-of-view format is a clever trick.
“Many female fans often consider their idol their imaginary boyfriend or husband,” Professor Zhang Kuangjie of the Nanyang Technological University told the BBC.
“This ad appeals exactly to those fans’ fantasies. The fact that he speaks very good Chinese [in the ad] further adds to [his] likeability.”
Prof Zhang adds that the fact the video is vertical – a format made for mobile phone screens – could “make the fans feel like they are having a virtual chat with the celebrity”, creating a more intimate experience.
There’s also the novelty of being served breakfast by a Western man, says Tay Guan Hin, founder of ad agency the TGH Collective.
“For a Chinese woman to be served by a man is not common in Asia, let alone a Caucasian man, so that’s something that adds to that [fantasy] element,” he said.
We may never know. Unless this ad sparks a sequel. PLEASE SPARK A SEQUEL, CENTRUM!
I haven’t been this invested in a relationship since those Maxwell House coffee ads of the 1980s.