Posted January 11th, 2012 in News by Jeremy Waller
I love hamburgers. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I could probably eat one for breakfast everyday and die a happy man.
I’m even fine with splurging every now and then on a gourmet burger from a nice restaurant.
But this is something else entirely.
Wendy’s has just launched the Foie Gras Rossini burger in Japan. This stylish square patty topped with goose-liver pate and truffle butter will set you back a cool $16.
First – $16 for a burger from Wendy’s? For just a few dollars more you can get a gourmet burger from Gordon Ramsay for crying out loud!
Second – who on earth would eat foie gras on burger? Further, who would eat foie gras from a fast food chain?
Uh yes I would like the foie gras with a large diet coke and an order of fries.
I can only assume that someone at Wendy’s has done their market research. I really hope this isn’t just a shot in the dark.
I do know that fast food chains do have a different image in Japan. Check out this McDonald’s commercial:
Japan has also been receptive to other gimmicky fast food promotions like the Windows 7 Whopper that Burger King did a few years ago.
You’ve got to do what it takes to stand out right?
Japan is the number 2 fast food market in the world. So Wendy’s definitely has a lot of motivation to gain a foothold there. They are the third-biggest fast food chain in the U.S., but only have a fraction of market share overseas.
92% of their revenues come from the USA. That’s a stark contrast to fast food giant McDonalds with stores in 119 countries. They have 3,300 restaurants in Japan alone!
I think it’s fascinating to watch how companies cater their products to the tastes, customs and culture of other countries. The companies that don’t think about how another culture or language might percieve their message may find themselves embarrassed.
You Get an F in International Marketing
Telecom company Orange ran an ad campaign in Europe in the 90’s with the tag line “The future’s bright … the future’s Orange.” What they didn’t realize was to people in northern Ireland the word “Orange” is associated with the Orange Order – a Protestant fraternal organization. As you can imagine the slogan “The future is bright, the future is Protestant” didn’t sit well with other denominations.
If you visit France, you most likely won’t find any products from Gerber, the baby food company. Why? It seems that “gerber” is the French word for vomiting.
Traficante is an Italian brand of mineral water. In Spanish, it means “drug dealer”.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the Volkswagen Jetta. However, in Italian, there is no letter “j”. Thus, the Jetta is pronounced “letta” which means “misfortune”. And in Neapolitan dialect “jetta” means “throw away!”
Who knows? Maybe Wendy’s has done their homework. Maybe they do know what they’re doing here.
I guess on my next trip to Japan I’ll have to swing by a Wendy’s and see if I can find a Foie Gras Rossini on the menu.
Do you think this is a smart move? Would you ever pay $16 for a burger from Wendy’s?