Friday, July 02, 2010

A Pis of Manneken for breakfast

Breakfast in Japan usually consists of something I pick up from the pastry aisle at the generic 24-hour convenience store. This is mostly out of convenience but partly due to the kick I get out of perusing the hundreds of varieties of cold canned coffee, which in my opinion can be boiled down to exactly two: black and au lait. Oh, and of course, to pick up my daily fix of Pocari Sweat.

One morning, my half-shut eyes spotted what looked like a Belgian...excuse me, a Liege waffle, and true enough, that's what it was. A closer examination of the waffle package showed the Belgian flag proudly displayed on top, as well as one of Brussels' most visited landmarks (read: tourist trap), the Manneken Pis.

I could hardly believe my eyes. How could a Japanese company have appropriated this much-loved Belgian icon, him with the fabulous wardrobe, and plastered the Manneken Pis' image on a cheap snack to be hawked at every 7-11, Family Mart, and Lawson's outlet across Japan? Why isn't the Belgian trade minister screaming loudly at the WTO for sanctions?!

My indignation was short-lived, however. I tore into the package, and pretty soon was munching contentedly on the waffle. Tasted quite good, actually, though hunger can muddle one's thinking.

As I pondered the situation, the more my views shifted to admiration for the business acumen of the company. After all, wasn't it clearly a master stroke to use a cliche associated with a foreign country to market products to the local population? The use of the Belgian flag seems rather dubious and over the top though.

Checking the website for more information led to nowhere, as it was purely in Japanese. (Or maybe the "Click here for English" was also written in Japanese. Hahaha). Anyone care to translate and help shed more light on this?

No comments: