Some of you may remember us reporting on a new promotional campaign by Burger King for their new Big King 4.0 burger. Called the Big ( ) Discount it is assumed that bringing in a Big Mac or receipt from a Big Mac will knock 120 yen (US$1) off the price of a Big King.

However, aside from pictorial allusions nowhere do they explicitly state that it has to be a Big Mac. They simply offer a discount for a “big something-something,” so our reporter Seiji Nakazawa went to his local Burger King with a bag full of “big” stuff such as candy and Mr. Big albums in the hopes of big savings. You’ll be surprised how for it got him.

■ Ready for battle
Seiji entered the Burger King on the afternoon of the 6th, the release date for the Big King 4.0. As he walked through the doors he found a line of customers and the staff scurrying behind the counter filling orders. None of the staff looked in the mood for the bag full of absurdity he had in his possession.

As he took his place in line, Seiji began arranging his items like a soldier preparing for battle. This would be a battle; there was no mistake about it. This staff was way too busy and in all likelihood they would toss him out the second they…

“Can I take your order?” the cashier asked Seiji, who hadn’t realized he was already at the front of the line.

The cashier was a man in his thirties with a stern face. The two locked eyes for a moment that felt like an eternity across a counter-top that felt as expansive as a battlefield.

■ Round 1: Big Katsu candy
“Um yeah,” Seiji finally started, “I heard about your Big ( ) Discount and have this…” He then pulled out a Big Katsu candy which is dried squid in the shape of a breaded pork cutlet. It met the advertised condition of being a “big-something-something” so logically it should entitle him to a 370 yen ($3) Big King 4.0.

Seiji was primed to shout out these facts upon hearing the cashier’s refusal. However, the instant he glanced at the Big Katsu candy, the stone-faced gentleman said “OK.”

■ Round 2: Nissin instant yakisoba Napolitan UFO Big
A little shocked and slightly encouraged by the acceptance, Seiji went for his next item. It was a special edition of the popular instant noodle dish UFO (Unidentified Frying Object). This was pushing the rules of the deal somewhat because it was a “something-something big” rather than a “big something-something.”

The cashier scanned it with his hard eyes for about five seconds before declaring it “OK.”

“No sh… Uh, I got something else here.” Seiji said reaching for for his next challenge — one that he was sure would fail.

■ Round 3: Big Comic Spirits
Seiji took out the thick weekly magazine Big Comic Spirits and placed it on the counter.

“Huh? What is this?” asked the cashier.

It was then that Seiji noticed a huge mistake. On the cover of this issue, you could barely see the “Big Comic” part of the name due to the massive font of “Spirits” and the cover model’s huge shoulders.

Seiji’s brain suddenly shouted at him, “The jigs up! Cheese it!” But he kept his cool and explained to the clerk that the magazine was called “BIG Comic Spirits” and pointed to the spine where it was more clearly printed.

The cashier simply nodded in agreement. It was a close call but a major breakthrough to know that non-food items were also fair game from this point on.

■ Round 4: Big, Bigger, Biggest – the best of Mr. Big
The Big Comic victory was a major turning point in Seiji’s war. He was now confident enough to present a copy of rock group Mr. Big’s greatest hits album Big, Bigger, Biggest for yet another cheap Big King 4.0.

Sure enough, the cashier approved. However, this time he didn’t actually say anything but his lifeless eyes suddenly perked up as if to say, “Oh, yeah, man. This is the stuff!”

As he accepted the coupon, Seiji was now wondering if the cashier was impressed by the sheer “bigness” of this offering (five “bigs” in total counting the license plate) or whether he was a fan of their world-famous hard rock balladry. There was only one way to find out.

■ Round 5: Lean Into It – Mr. Big
Seiji then drew his copy of Lean Into It by Mr. Big. As any fan would know this was their breakout album with hits such as “To Be With You” and “Just Take My Heart.” It clearly lacked the repeated use of the word “big” that the previous CD had, but a true Mr. Big fan would be sure to make a devil horn gesture and start headbanging in its presence.

The cashier simply glanced at it and mumbled “OK.”

“What?! Have you no soul?!” Seiji wanted to scream, but this was not the time. He was about to take things to the next level.

■ Round 6: Bikuriman Choco

Seiji was really walking the line with this next item, a pack of candy called Bikuriman Choco. It didn’t even have the word “big” anywhere on the package, but it did have “bik” in part of the name which is nearly the same in pronunciation and writing in katakana.

However, aside from that, it had absolutely nothing to do with “big.”

Seiji and the cashier again locked eyes across the Star Wars decorated package of nonsense and a heavy air settled between them. Seiji thought he had pushed his luck too far with this one. He was about to pick up the candy and put it back in his bag when the cashier, for the first time, cracked a smile and said “It’s okay.”

■ Final Round: Okina Okina Yaki Onigiri

Seiji had finally gotten the cashier to smile and there was only one item left in his bag: a pack of frozen rice balls called Okina Okina Yaki Onigiri. This didn’t even have a vague pronunciation trick like the last item and made no reference to the English word “big” at all. Still, Seiji felt he had the knock-out blow coming and slammed the appetizers down on the counter.

Cashier: “Excuse me… What is this?”
Seiji: “It has “okina,” the Japanese word for “big.”
Cashier: “For the time being, we can only accept stuff with “big” written in the Roman alphabet or with the same pronunciation in katakana.”
Seiji: “I see. I’m sorry.”

The was an uncomfortable silence between the two and a puddle of melted ice began to form around the onigiri before Seiji finally made an order for a Big King 4.0 with one of his coupons. The battle was over, and although Burger King gave a lot of ground, they showed that they can only be pushed so far.

Seiji returned to his desk and enjoyed the all-beef patties, the sesame seed buns, and the tangy sauce of the Big King, which was special, but legally not “special sauce.”

The Big ( ) Discount continues until 29 November which means there may be more opportunities to get coupons such as acting out a scene from the Tom Hanks classic Big or singing the hook to Notorious BIG’s “Hypnotize.”

Original article by Seiji Nakazawa
Photos: RocketNews24
[ Read in Japanese ]