Friday, March 19, 2010

Announcing - California!

Big, juicy patty; thick, ripe tomatoes; dripping with sauce...

Yeah, none of those describe Micky-D's latest marketing ploy this time, either. As I've written before, McDonald's Japan is currently running its Big America Burger campaign, with a differently-named sandwich coming out every few weeks for a limited run. First we had Texas, with its sweet molasses sauce and a tiny slice of avocado. Followed by NY which I missed. Then Hawaii with its fake bacon pieces and egg-like hockey puck. At last, California takes a bow.

The little dollops of brown sauce have no flavor at all. This time, the thin patty actually covers the bun. It initially comes across as dry, but eventually shows its greasy side (not juicy, just fatty). Fair amount of sliced lettuce, but the single tomato slice is still green and tough. The cheese is equally flavorless. Again, this thing's selling for 420 yen ($4.75 USD), and it's not worth that.

The Japan Times recently ran an interview with a woman that's been blogging about Japanese snack foods. One of her comments is that Japanese food makers don't really think about making flavor combinations that will sell well for the long run. Instead, they're focused on the little sales blip that comes from people checking out the novelty value of something with a really short shelf life (ref. the Kitkat flavors). This explains MickyD's philosophy behind the Big America series - promote subpar sandwiches using a glossy marketing campaign and pocket the difference.

(I'm (not) lovin' it!)


bartman905 said...

> (I'm (not) lovin' it!) lol, me too!

We do eat at McD's sometimes as my teenage son likes to eat there.

Do you eat at the other non-American burger joints in Tokyo like MOS Burger, Freshness Burger, Lotteria, etc.?

TSOTE said...

Hi bartman!
There's a McD's across the street from my apartment, and a MOS about 100 meters farther away. Freshness is one station down in either direction. Lotteria's the only one that's not within 10 minutes of me, and that's the one I've got more of an emotional tie to. (When I worked out in the countryside for 1.5 years, I'd go to the Lotteria there every weekend). I like MOS occasionally for the variation, and Freshness for the burgers themselves. I still go to Lotteria once in a blue moon for the memories. I also like to go to First Kitchen as part of my visits to Kinokuniya bookstore in Shinjuku.

I miss the old MOS chili dogs, which were the only things in Japan served with slices of pickled jalapeno peppers...

How about yourself?

Elfchin said...

Oh man, I had the same reaction. There was something really off about the burger too -- I lived most of my life in California and I have never tasted anything like it.