24 December 2010

How KFC Made Fried Chicken a Christmas Tradition in Japan

Taking your family out for fried chicken on Christmas Day? If you lived in Japan you would.

KFC'sSanta Colonel Sanders

In 1974, KFC ran a campaign that convinced the Japanese people that foreigners living in their country eat chicken at Christmas time due to a lack of turkey - or so the legend goes.

The campaign somehow morphed into a Japanese tradition with families booking months in advance to secure a table at KFC on Christmas Day for some festive grease. All marketers should be so lucky.

KFC Japan 2010 Christmas Selection

All together now:

“Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!)

Behold this Japanese KFC ad that will either have you licking your lips or rolling your eyes.

And if you thought it couldn’t get any weirder, Colonel Sanders is a cult figure in Japan and most people think KFC is a Japanese company.

As marketers around the world start salivating in anticipation of making fried chicken a global Christmas treat, it’s reassuring to know that some Japanese successes - like J-Pop - will never make it outside Japan’s cultural bubble.

So let’s hear it for the Japanese, a people who’ll apparently do anything as long as you tell them foreigners were doing it first.

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