“Forever, Love” campaign gets lost in translation.

McDonald’s knows how to make a name for itself when it comes to marketing campaigns in Japan. A few years back, they offered locals the chance to win an 18-karat gold chicken nugget, and every now and then they allow customers to purchase smiles on the menu for 0 yen.

These days, however, the fast food chain has become particularly fond of releasing animated commercials, and its latest ad campaign puts the McDonald’s McShake in the anime spotlight. Called “Forever, Love”, the short anime follows a character from childhood to adulthood, with the McShake by her side all the way.

Take a look at the 15-second commercial below:

The commercial lets customers know that McDonald’s shakes will be available at a reduced price from 1-14 July, with small sizes selling for 100 yen (US$0.93) instead of 120 yen and medium sizes selling for 150 yen instead of 200 yen.

The nationwide campaign has even been promoted on the official McDonald’s Japan Twitter account, using this image from the commercial, along with the message:

“Trying, trying to suck but nothing comes out at the first sip. Even though you’ve grown up, the suction strength remains unchanged. Everyone’s had this experience, right?”

To most people, this tweet and the image accompanying it was nothing but a nod to the thickness of the shake and our own experiences drinking it. However, some people couldn’t help reading between the lines, leaving replies to the tweet like:

“This is eroticism.”
“The image looks like it belongs on the cover of lolicon magazine Comic LO.”
“I don’t understand ‘suction strength’. Isn’t that just for Dysons?”
“I thought she looked like Hayate-chan from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A’s.”
“When I drink McShakes, I’m reminded
 of suckling at my mother’s breast.”

While that last comment sounds particularly disturbing, the founder of McDonald’s Japan, Den Fujita, has openly connected drinking from McDonald’s straws to babies nursing at the teat. The following quote comes from his book, Den Fujita’s Business Strategies 2: Overwhelming Business Strategies.

“When humans drink something, the speed that produces the most delicious feeling is the speed at which babies nurse…McDonald’s straws are designed so that when used with a shake, the speed will be the same as that of an infant drinking breast milk.”

Whether or not McDonald’s wanted to remind people of suckling at the bosom with this new anime commercial may be up for debate, but it certainly drew attention to the milkshakes. Much like the Adult Cream Pie caught everyone’s eye when it was released in Japan earlier this year.

Sources: Hachima Kikou, Twitter/@McDonaldsJapan
Featured image: YouTube/マクドナルド公式(McDonald’s)
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