If you’re American then sorry, Kewpie doesn’t think you’re ready for its hard-core naked angel logo like most of Earth is.
From the end of May this year, Japan’s premier mayonnaise brand Kewpie began manufacturing in the USA. Although the unbelievably sweet condiment has been enjoyed by Americans for years now via imports, this marks the first time it is officially produced and sold on the continent.
Fans of Kewpie will know how good this news is, as this mayo ranks somewhere between Girl Scout cookies and morphine in terms of deliciousness. However, fans will also notice a slight change in the packaging. Original Kewpie mayo features the chubby cherub standing straight at us in all its glory.
However, American Kewpie squeeze bottles look like the one in the photo below. This format actually originated in Malaysia. When Kewpie was renewing its Halal certification, someone mentioned, “Say, isn’t this an angel?” They were alluding to the tiny wings on Kewpie’s back and Islam’s prohibition of idol worship.
Kewpie responded that the logo wasn’t meant to be an angel, baby, boy, girl, or anything specifically, but rather than rock the boat they opted to hide the wings and nudity anyway.
Similarly when gearing up for U.S. distribution, someone stateside told Kewpie Japan, “you might want to consider the cultural and religious diversity as well as the social climate here.”
And so, following the age-old axiom that one doesn’t sell mayo by being controversial, Kewpie went with the more conservative logo again.
Japanese comments were somewhat mixed on the matter.
“The new logo makes it look like a knock-off.” “It looks like Chucky. Creepy…” “Marketing in Islamic countries is pretty hard.” “Yeah religion always gets in the way of good mayonnaise.” “I think the logo is cute, but I also get how it might be a problem.” “If someone complains that it’s an angel, just say it’s a kid. And if someone says it’s child pornography, just say it’s an angel.” “I like the kewpie, but we should also respect other cultures and religions when selling overseas.”
Interestingly enough everyone seems to be overlooking the fact that Kewpie is a purely American character to begin with. Created by Rose O’Neill in the early 20th century, it was quickly picked up by Nakashimato who held a tumultuous licensing agreement with the creator’s estate ever since.
That’s not to say everything that came out of the early 20th century as a good thing, but Kewpie dolls certainly seemed harmless enough.
Europe, Thailand, and even the Islamic nation of Indonesia all still continue to use the original naked-angel-thing Japanese image on their packages. It just goes to show how times and standards change in different countries.
Source: Yahoo! Japan News, Hachima Kiko
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