Friday, March 15, 2013

McDonald's campaign and products (product info.)

All images from McDonald's Japan.

One of the things which I find awesome about living in the U.S. is that you can get a lot of stuff for free. I'm not only talking about free samples, though those are actually extremely easy to come by, but full on free products. Starbucks gave away free "refresher" and blonde roast drinks in the "tall" size. One of the big supermarket chains here has given us a ton of freebies because we have their club card (eggs, soda, coffee, etc.). Since the card gives you discounts anyway, they are already in a position to sell our information. Giving us free food as a part of the deal is a bonus.

One of the things I find frustrating in America is that there are many campaigns which give you free stuff, but only if you buy something else. In many cases, it is a large thing like a pizza or a dozen donuts. I don't need a dozen donuts, let alone two dozen donuts. The whole "buy one, get one free" business has been around since I was a child and seems to be a staple of American marketing.

This particular method of encouraging consumption was one that I rarely ran across in Japan. The Japanese, in general, are not lured by the notion of getting more for their money. They are more interested in getting better quality or novelty for their money. In fact, one of the reasons I was told that Costco held little appeal for my acquaintances was that the sizes were too large. Even if they were getting twice as much for the same price as a smaller size elsewhere, they just didn't want the extra stuff around. Value for them generally did not come from getting "more".

It is for this reason that I was surprised to discover that McDonald's is offering a "buy one, get one free" deal on their fries and nuggets. It's not that people don't like the food, as McDonald's is one of the most popular options for lunch in Japan due to its hyper-palatable food (fat and salt, you can't lose) and low prices. It's more the case that an individual wouldn't be able to scarf down that much food in many cases, though there may be some businessmen who would be game to try. I'm guessing that this is the sort of thing that two people would arrange to share rather than one person would take advantage of. 

The curiosity for me in this is wondering why such a marketing campaign is being pursued at this time. While I'm sure these happen on occasion, I never saw one while I was living in Japan. Then again, I very rarely ate fast food. 

Beyond this, there's an Idaho burger on offer. This is the only weird food option at present, and it isn't even all that strange. You can see it's a burger with a hash brown patty and a glob of sauce with whole grain mustard and bacon. Woohoo?

And, just for fun, I thought I'd share the latest crop of toys that a kid (or a child-like adult) can get with a "happy meal". Currently, toys featuring the Japanese kids' cartoon character "Doraemon" are on offer. From left, there is an "air pistol" toy, a magic door which I believe has a scrolling scene in it, light on a cuff bracelet (I think), a propeller head, a small bag, and a sticker dispenser. I should keep track of these toys to see what sorts of things are offered throughout the year. I should, but I'm probably not going to. 


BradleyNASH said...

That Idaho burger! WOW... surprised that didn't start over here in the states... maybe it did?
Looks full of calories and fat... but I bet it's yummy...

Perogyo said...

Costco is amazingly popular here in Japan. I am always happy to go to Costcos overseas where it is not chockablock with people and carts- and the people waiting for samples aren't taking up three or four aisles!!

Buy one get one free has always been a thing with eggs at my local supaa. But who needs 20 eggs, especially if you want them super fresh for sukiyaki or something?