A taste, and words, to remind everyone of home.

For the most part, companies in Japan don’t do region-specific TV commercials. The country is geographically small enough that what works in one part of the nation is generally thought to work well in another.

But McDonald’s Japan recently produced two versions of their newest ad, one for Kanto (east Japan), and one for Kansai (the area around Osaka).

See if you can spot the difference.

▼ Kanto commercial

▼ Kansai commercial

Both commercials show a young woman who’s just moved out of her parents’ house and is off to the big city, either for college or work. Feeling daunted by the unfamiliarity of her new surroundings and lifestyle, she steps into a McDonald’s branch for some comfort food and an atmosphere she’s used to. “Everything feels different in this town. But in here, it smells the same as it did in my hometown”, her narration says.

The difference comes at the 24-second mark, when she says, “When you’re homesick, McDonald’s makes you feel a little better.” Ordinarily, in Japanese this would be “Makudonardo wa homushikku ni sukoshi kiku,” but even Japanese people feel like “Makudonarudo,” the Japanese pronunciation of “McDonald’s,” is a mouthful. That’s why in conversation, most people just call the chain “Makku,” which is why the woman in the commercial says, “Makku wa, homushikku ni sukoshi kiku.”

Or at least that’s what she says in the Kanto ad. That’s because “Makku” is the chain’s nickname in Kanto. In Kansai, “Makudo” is the nickname that’s stuck, so McDonald’s went to the trouble of rerecording the commercial’s last line for the version airing in Kansai, with the woman saying “Makudo wa, homushikku ni sukoshi kiku.”

You can also spot the two different nicknames in the on-screen text at the end of the commercials, with マック/Makku in the Kanto video and マクド/Makudo in the Kansai one.

Even though the Makku and Makudo nicknames are localized, petty much everyone in Japan has heard of both of them, and so McDonald’s didn’t really need to make two different versions of the commercial for its narration to be understood. But with the comfort of what you’re used to being their theme, it’s nice that they went to the extra effort to make them feel extra-familiar to whoever’s watching.

Source: YouTube/マクドナルド公式(McDonald’s) (1, 2) via IT Media
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