Japanese commercials are considerably different than those of western cultures where people are seen on a more intimate and casual-looking level. This is due to there being a set of norms, or unwritten laws that stem from centuries of unchanged traditions where cordiality, politeness and formality are of utmost importance. This is demonstrated in examples such as the taboo or frowned upon action of walking whilst holding hands around Japanese.. Smoking and eating in public is also seen as derogatory to one's own persona.
Due to these rather ‘oriental' ideals, McDonalds' marketing approach to Japanese society is vastly different than that of its tactics on the Indian and/or American markets. This phenomenon can be seen in the popular (Japanese) McDonald's TV commercial where a man, evidently tired from presumably working, drives up to a McDonalds location and is greeted by a well-groomed, smiling and attentive sales representative offering him a menu, distinctively with both hands. These particular, minimalistic and almost unnoticeable details are very particular to the Japanese market, as they are signs of commitment, civility and respect towards its customers.
Furthermore, this takes place at a drive-thru. The man is evidently in a hurry, representing the small amount of time people in Japan have to eat. Unlike in other 1st world countries, the commercial depicts a quick, rapid and effective service where the command, payment and reception of product are carried out with exact precision, establishing the effectiveness and efficiency of Japanese employees; another important and fundamental trait in Nippon culture. Additionally, in another television advert (LINK), we can see the reaction that the people in Japan would have towards American or western products. Whereas the former depicted the overall service and its efficiency at a McDonald's location, the latter portrays the introduction of a new product, the American-styled ‘Hawaiian Burger' into the Japanese McDonald's contemporary market. Nevertheless, the commercial has clearly been altered to suit that which is ‘appropriate' in terms of the eastern nation's customs. Though the models introducing the burger are clearly representing Hawaiian Hula-girls, wearing bright colours and having a flower in their hair, dancing hula to Hawaiian tunes, they're upper body attire has been distorted from the typical ‘coconut bikini' to a short t-shirt. This has been adapted in order to not show “too much skin”, as Japanese culture is substantially more conservative in terms of clothing than western civilisations.
Likewise, the burger and its content have also been reformed. Traces of Nippon cuisine, such as tofu instead of cheese or meat have been implemented into the meal, as well as it being served in what seems to be a food truck similar to those of Myazaki; a renowned manga author and illustrator. This, no doubt, is evidence of the ‘Gaijin Complex', and proof that the Japanese market is considerably much harder to penetrate.
Conclusively, it is safe to assume that, even though McDonald's had original intentions of gradually ‘liberalising' Japanese food markets to a more ‘occidental' trend, they have partially failed in their attempts as they have had to assimilate vastly to Japanese cultural and social behaviours. This was demonstrated by the modification of a typical American burger to adapt to oriental tastes, along with its supporting commercial (changed the wardrobe of even the most traditional outfit such as the Hawaiian hula girl, solely to un-alter the people and their conservative values [bikini tops] due to delicacies of change). In contrast to this, the US fast food giant has successfully implemented well-rated commercials and advertisements for their Japanese locations, as they have positively understood the customs and traditions of the country, leading to empathetic adverts, as exhibited by the geniality, courtesy, gentility, gallantry and subtle details which tap into the unconscious wants and needs of the majority of the Japanese population.
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