Hiddleston has become one of the most successful actors in the world, with appearances as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, among other massive franchises. That made it all the more surprising for fans when he turned up in strangely intimate ads for Centrum's vitamins for women in China.
Hiddleston himself shared the commercials on Weibo, a social media platform popular in China. He made his promotional posts with a chipper, friendly tone, aimed at the vitamins' target audience.
therapist: tom hiddleston centrum ad is not real it can’t hurt you
tom hiddleston centrum ad: pic.twitter.com/0papFBcHDH— 𝐣𝐞𝐧 𝐰𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐦𝐨𝐥🌿 (@peachymischief) March 27, 2019
"Here's something special for you at breakfast time," Hiddleston wrote. "Wishing all my friends in China a great start to their day! #CentrumUS."
The ad itself was filmed from the point of view of a woman, showing her pajama-clad body as she awoke and walked down the stairs. In the kitchen, she found Hiddleston speaking directly to her. The actor fried up an egg and slid it on top of a colorful plate of vegetables. He spoke casually, directly to the camera.
"Hey! Morning," he said. "I finished early so I thought I'd pop back and make you breakfast. Pepper on top, right?"
"You look great," he went on, picking up a bottle of vitamins and placing it down in front of the audience. Hiddleston spoke a few words of Chinese with apparent ease in the ad. From there, he jumped up and began pulling on a coat.
"I'm going to be a bit busy for the next few weeks," he said apologetically. "But, uh, I'll make it up to you soon, I promise."
The audience's point-of-view hands then reached out to straighten Hiddleston's lapel, and he smiled affectionately before heading out the door.
I love him dearly but how utterly sexist is this advert?!?!? “You look great by the way”... fuck off!!!!— Rebecca Jean-Carroll (@R_Jean_Carroll) March 27, 2019
But also don’t because you’re Tom Hiddleston... and you know what... I’ll just buy some Centrum and sit here for weeks looking good ‘till you decide to come home. https://t.co/SxX88qjutD
Fans were struck by the odd tone of the commercial, and Hiddleston's performance in it. They took to social media, some feeling put off by the premise as a whole while others that the actor had phoned it in.
"Am I the only one who watches it and feels a little cringy (sic)," one fan tweeted. "He seems a little awkward, I'm not sure he was fully comfortable with the idea."
"I love him dearly but how utterly sexist is this advert?!?!?" added another. "'You look great by the way'… f— off!!!! But also don't because you're Tom Hiddleston… and you know what… I'll just buy some Centrum and sit here for weeks looking good 'till you decide to come home."
"Tom Hiddleston's ad for Centrum IS MADE FOR ASIAN MARKETS," a third person countered. "If you're not in China and think the ad is weird, don't worry, IT'S NOT FOR YOU. Leave it alone, go eat McDonald's or summ."