Madonna, Leo Flogging Tokyo Real Estate

Madonna (48) has been chosen as the latest international celebrity to promote a new luxury apartment complex in Tokyo. In a sign that Tokyo’s property market is indeed on the up, the singer will appear in TV, web and newspaper advertising for a new 33-floor high rise in the Ariake bayside area. The TV commercials are directed by fashion designer and long-time Madonna collaborator Steve Klein. The Brillia Mare Ariake complex is being built by a trio of companies including Tokyo Kenbutsu, whose spokesman said Madonna suited the area’s “international image”. They won’t be revealing the amount paid to the Material Girl, but the advertising budget is thought to be about 3% of the development’s total sales value. There are 1,081 apartments in all, so assuming a conservative average price of ¥50 million, that adds up to more than ¥1.6 billion ($13.5 million) in advertising alone. Madonna is likely to get a decent chunk of that. But with the project not due for completion till March 2009 and Ariake being built on land reclaimed from Tokyo Bay, what happens if an earthquake wipes out the whole area in the meantime?

Tokyo Kenbutsu used French actor Jean Reno to help sell apartments in Kinshicho three years ago, while Orix Real Estate are currently using the star appeal of Leonardo DiCaprio (32) to sell their “Re-Tokyo Project”. As for local talent, Mitsui Fudosan have enlisted the enduring popular appeal of SMAP and actress Kuroki Hitomi, and Hollywood-based Watanabe Ken has been signed up by Nomura Fudosan to plug a development in the Tokyo sleeper town of Urayasu that goes on sale next month.