Archive for ‘Video’

August 21st, 2011

For here, then to go

How could they just kill the King like that?  No, I’m not talking about the shocker from last season’s HBO hit, Game of Thrones, but rather the regicide at the hands of the fast food company that put to an end, the short reign of Burger King’s King.  Sure he was creepy, as kings go,  and I was never really sure which directions his policies leaned, but for some reason, I was still saddened when I heard the news that Burger King was directing its marketing campaign in a healthier direction. Couldn’t they just keep the King, and have him do jumping jacks or something?  If you’re like, me, you’ll want to watch him address his subjects for one of the last time.

After a bit of research, I learned that the King  wasn’t always the static faced creep we see today.  In the 1960’s, Burger King used a friendlier looking animated character that was actually kind of cute.  Not quite Ronald McDonald, but still, he made hamburgers look like fun.  But times change, and sadly, I now have empathy for those fans of long ago, who probably wept royal tears when it was time for their smiling cartoon king to go.

When I shared my pain with my husband, he asked, “Don’t they have crazy Japanese mascots too?”  Having been in the U.S. for the last twenty years or so, I had to consult the experts, my Japanese friends, on Facebook.   Here’s what I got:

Peko-chan for Fuji-ya

Just like the King, her expression is frozen, but she’s a cute little girl who looks like she’s enjoying food (maybe too much!).  She mainly sells a chewy candy called “Milky” from the Fuji-ya company.  The candy itself tastes like condensed milk, and for Japanese people, its a nice childhood memory.  While you can catch the sentiment from their tag-line:  “Milky wa mama no aji” (mama=mother; aji=flavor), the English translation doesn’t quite work,  “Milky is the taste of mother.”  If that were an American commercial, half of the consumer’s money would go to candy, while the other half would go to therapy!  Fuji-ya company also runs a chain of restaurants where you can see Peko-chan standing in front of restaurants like a skinnier “Bob” from Bob’s Big Boy.

Being the home of Hello Kitty, are you surprised that even Japanese mayonnaise gets its own strange/cute mascot?  Check out the Kewpie doll character from Kewpie mayonnaise.  Because nothing makes me think of mayonnaise more than a happy baby doll…

While we don’t have anyone as elegant and classy as Mr. Peanut, with his cane and monocle, there is a middle aged man called “Curl oji-san (uncle), who hawks a corn snack called Curl.  While I liked my fictional uncle, I loved his commercial’s theme song.

Ronald McDonald and Col. Sanders are icons who lack Japanese peers, as most characters and mascots in Japan represent products, not fast food companies.  Maybe the Japanese should follow America’s lead as in Japan, local fast food favorite, Yoshinoya is a distant 4th to number 1, McDonald’s.

So yes, I’m sad the Burger King King was dethroned, but I’ll save my tears for another day–when Jack in the Box finally decides to pull the plug on my absolute favorite fast food mascot, Jack.  While I’ll never tire of Jack’s pointy profile or the pure passion he has for his work, I know the fickle whims of the advertising market change, and he too, will have his time.  When that happens, jaded and hardened, I doubt I’ll become attached to any future replacements.  It’s just too hard to get that excited over a lizard that tries to sell you auto insurance.


May 30th, 2011

Food Fight

Once in a while, you encounter something just so brilliant you want to share it with the world. I’m not talking about babies/cats/dog doing something silly/cute/dumb, I have another obsession–food. Food videos are usually not that entertaining. They are there to teach people how to cut their Thanksgiving turkey or how to eat with chopsticks. So, when I saw this, I was almost jealous. Why couldn’t I have made something like this? The answer was obvious–I don’t know anything about animation. This is short video is a brief history of (American-centric) wars, but using food! America is represented by burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets; Japan by sushi; Russia by beef stroganoff, and so on. It’s just brilliant. Here’s the link:

Just in case you need to clarify the character, a cheat sheet is provided by the creators.