Thursday, September 01, 2005

 

No Red for McDonald's

In 2001 the city of Kyoto passed a law banning "garish signs" on the street. This was part of an effort to renew and retain the beauty of this most traditional of cities. If you've been there, you know how special and unique a place it is.

So, what exactly is a "garish" street sign? Apparently city planners did not like the bright red color McDonald's generally uses to advertise itself. Go to Kyoto today and you will see that McD's has had to adapt to the color brown.



An interesting feature of this photo (aside from the not-so-flattering model) is the little advertisement in the background. You see a poster of a burger -- no surprise there. But you also see a cartoon moon with a rabbit leaping in front. The characters in the upper right hand corner announce that the poster is for Autumn.

So what's the deal with the rabbit? Autumn is moon viewing season in Japan. Go around Kyoto during that time and you will see little displays of rabbits dressed in kimonos, chasing the moon, sitting by the moon, or making rice cakes. Legend has it that if you look at the moon, you will see a rabbit. He lives there, pounding the surface of the moon to make mochi. Hence all the craters.

People love the seasons in Japan, as well they should. It's a beautiful country and the landscape responds profoundly to changes in temperature, and great attention is paid on the news to which flowers are blooming and where.

I know of no other place where it would make sense to advertise a burger and the moon in one poster.

Comments:
QUOTE:
I know of no other place where it would make sense to advertise a
burger and the moon in one poster.

ANSWER: Japan is not the only country that has seasons or uses seasons
in their ads. Taiwan also has ads right now for mooncakes and autumn
moon viewing festival coming up. Some people think Japan has a monopoly on sensitivity in advertising. Just not true. Many other countries have poetry too. But Japan does do nice ads and is special that way, yes. But not the only place like this...

Comment by Danny — 9/5/2005 @ 4:36 pm

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Danny, I'm so happy to hear that the whole moon viewing/rabbit ad thing exists in Taiwan too. I really love how closely Japan follows the seasons -- when I compare its aesthetics to the States, for example. Since it is so appealing, it makes sense that other countries would share in that sensibility. In fact, when I think about it, the whole rabbit-in-the-moon thing probably originated in China in the first place, as so many things have. Though I could be wrong about that. I hope I have the chance to visit Taiwan someday soon so I can experience its unique culture.

The one thing I will say though; I think it's really intriguing that McD's was forced to give up its corporate color in Kyoto. I wonder if other cities with a strong sense of aesthetics will force it to follow suit. I'm sure you'll let us know if that's the case!
 
Yes, Marie, you are right

QUOTE: "In fact, when I think about it, the whole rabbit-in-the-moon thing probably originated in China in the first place, as so many things have."

In fact, 90 percent of Japan's culture comes from China in the first place, China and Korea long ago. They just conveniently forget it. SMILE.

Like the Star Festival, Tanabata, that is from CHina; Moonviewing festival, that is from CHINA, OBON, that is from CHina, Ghost Month, same time of year. and of course the kanji all comes from China. In fact, the DNA is from CHINA too. Japan is really a new form of the old CHina. But China got stuck in its empire big country vision thing and never really developed very well, and still hasn't, whereas, Japan, being on an island, it developed a very cool and unique culture, albeit a Chinese-Korean culture imported and then reinvented. I think Japan's isolation worked in its favor of developing a very intereesting and refined culture. And look at it today! A wonderful charming place!
 
MARIE: The one thing I will say though; I think it's really intriguing that McD's was forced to give up its corporate color in Kyoto. I wonder if other cities with a strong sense of aesthetics will force it to follow suit. I'm sure you'll let us know if that's the case!

DANNY: This item is very very interesting. Kyoto might have started something here! Very very cool, and thanks for bringing it to everyone's attention. Must be some visionaries there in Kyoto!
 
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