For those who missed it, Japanese performer Piko Taro captivated the internet last year by dressing up in yellow leopard print, doing a geeky dance to synthesizer music and singing absurdist phrases like "I have a pen, I have pineapple. Uh! Pineapple pen."
Back in September, Justin Bieber tweeted that the clip, "Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen," was his "favorite video on the internet." Their interaction was practically crying out for sponsorship deals, and Japanese telecoms company SoftBank united the two stars.
On its YouTube channel, SoftBank released a behind-the-scenes video of the men's meeting. There will be more to the campaign, which plugs promotions for mobile plans for students. The Canadian sported a shaved head and a schoolboy's suit in the video, filmed in a school. (For the record, Mr. Bieber had two telecoms ads released on Sunday: the other was his Super Bowl appearance as a "celebration expert" in a T-Mobile ad.) Piko Taro, a character created by comedian Kazuhiko Kosaka, played the teacher, schooling Mr. Bieber on the moves to "Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen."
SoftBank's original video post, viewable in Japan only, had about 650,000 views in four days. The September video that brought Piko Taro international fame has over 11 million YouTube views. Ad giant Dentsu put it at No. 5 on its annual list of hits from Japan in 2016. (No. 1, of course, was Pokémon Go.)
Piko Taro has made other appearances since then, including one on the Japanese version of Sesame Street, where he sang a song with Elmo and Cookie Monster called "Cookie-Butter-Choco-Cookie."