With so many local and international fast food chains in the country, McDonald’s Japan has a lot of competition to contend with, especially after numerous scandals in the first half of the last decade led to unprecedented deficits for the company.
In order to increase their popularity with fast food lovers around the nation, McDonald’s Japan has been working hard over the last five years, bringing out a slew of new burgers, collaborating with local brands and companies, and even opening a fancy pop-up restaurant with silverware, tablecloths, and wine glasses filled with iced tea.
Now they’re attempting to grab the spotlight once again with another never-before-seen release — the Otona no Cream Pie, which translates to “Adult Cream Pie” in English.
Otona is a word often used in the Japanese sweets industry to describe confectionery that has less sweetness than regular brands, evoking a sense of high-quality, refined flavor.
However, the combination of the word “adult” and “cream pie” brings up a whole other imagery entirely for English speakers, which has people questioning whether or not the team consulted with any English-language speakers before deciding on the new name.
The accompanying commercial for the new product also displays some subtext that allows for reading-in-between-the-lines.
The ad above features a young woman (played by Sairi Ito) and an older woman (played by Yoko Maki of "The Grudge"), who’s referred to as both sensei (“teacher”) and senpai (“senior“). The younger woman can be seen asking her sensei: “That cream pie, is it really that delicious?” which prompts the sensei to turn and hold the younger woman’s face in both hands, saying earnestly, “If you eat it once, you’ll be filled.”
The two then jump in a cab, asking the driver to take them to the nearest McDonald’s, where they’ll no doubt be ordering the Adult Cream Pie, which retails for 150 yen and comes in the following two flavors:
▼ Belgian Chocola
▼ Sweet Fromage
While the word otona literally translates to “adult” in English, it should be noted that the adult entertainment industry and its related goods and products in Japan use the word adaruto, a corrupted form of the English word “adult”.
Therefore, the name of the dessert won’t necessarily raise eyebrows amongst the majority of McDonald’s diners here in Japan, but for English speakers on Twitter, the Adult Cream Pie is causing a bit of a stir.
There’s not long to go for the countdown to the day the Adult Cream Pies become available at McDonald’s branches around Japan, as they go on sale for a limited time from Jan 15.
Regardless of whether the wording was intentional or accidental, it’s a marketing boon for the fast food giant as people will no doubt be flooding social media with images of the lost-in-translation dessert as soon as it goes on sale.
Source: McDonald’s Japan
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