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Monday Meeting: Bubble Tea, BBQ and Taste

Filed under Advertising, beverages, Marketing, McCafe, Test Market

Chan McTi sells bubble tea in Germany.

Is there a more curious cross-cultural mashup than an American fast-food chain hawking a Taiwanese beverage in Germany?

Meet “Chan McTi” a Chinese character who may cross the border into caricature as he introduces bubble tea—tea with tapioca pearls—to McCafé in Germany. In his lemon-lime suit, Chan’s antic energy will make you wonder what’s really in that cup as he slurps his tea, dances, constructs the McCafé logo out of straws and shouts, “Bubblezzaaiii!” This play on the Japanese word “banzai” is out of place, if not embarrassingly inappropriate. Watch the commercial here and draw your own conclusions. If you’re not offended, there’s a website where you can get your fill of Chan McTi and his “Bubblezzaaiii.”

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Rival Burger King once again is positioning itself as the chain that uses flame-grilling just like you do in the backyard. The chain’s new 60-second commercial opens with the proclamation, “Smile, America. It’s barbecue day!” What follows—set to Dire Straits’ 1985 hit “Walk of Life”—is the usual all-American medley of fireworks, laughing kids, grills, pool parties, etc.

Considering Burger King has fallen to the No. 3 spot among burger chains, it’s a bit cheeky for it to claim, as this commercial does, that “America’s Favorite Burger and all the foods you love are waiting for you” are at Burger King. ‘Scuse me?

But the ad closes on an interesting global note with Burger King embracing the “Taste is King” tagline that it has been using for years in its advertising in Europe. It beats the low-key-to-the-point-of-no-key “Exciting things are happening at Burger King” tag used on recent celebrity commercials for its new menu.

Speaking of barbecues, sources say Burger King is rolling out the Carolina BBQ Whopper, one of three sandwiches (Texas BBQ and Pulled Pork were the others) that the chain was testing in April in Nashville and other selected markets. As previously tested, the burger has red onion, Carolina BBQ sauce, bacon, pepper-Jack cheese, tomato, lettuce and something called “coleslaw sauce.” Watch for the Carolina BBQ Whopper to replace the Chef’s Choice on menu boards soon.

4 Responses to Monday Meeting: Bubble Tea, BBQ and Taste

  1. ah123

    I’m more offended that McDonald’s is usurping cultural products than the commercial character itself, which is similar to what you see in many Asian silly ads by Asians themselves.

  2. FrankPKT

    Actually, the BANZAI! would not be as inappropriate as you might think. Taiwanese love Japanese culture and you will often find Japanese words in ads and commercials in Taiwan.

  3. Joseph Curtis

    Burger King should realize that the people are moving towards healthy. Falling to No.3 is a proof. They should start introducing some healthier versions of their products or add some new healthier products to their menu.

  4. Mario Antinori

    @FrankPKT I will agree that the Japanese word ‘banzai’ might be appropriate to some degree but we are talking about a Taiwanese product. People outside of Taiwan will most think that it is a Japanese product rather than a Taiwanese one. Japanese products are popular all over the world and people’s perception might be blurred by the Taiwanese’s acceptance of Japanse words for their products.