Say hello to Frito-Lay's newest Japan-only product, Tights-kun Doritos. "Tights-kun" (which loosely translated means "Buddy-boy in tights") is a moderately popular illustrated character in Japan, and Frito-Lay is using him as a mascot to draw attention to its new black corn chili Doritos. Every few weeks, a new version of the package is released with a new Tights-kun antic and a bit of copy that gets consumers giggling, nodding in agreement, or feeling a sense of nostalgia.* The packages are fast becoming collector's items.
I won't go into extensive detail on each version of the package, but suffice it to say that the campaign is meant to generate buzz and reignite consumer interest in the brand. Sure Doritos is know for its antics in other markets, but why go with something this. . .unusual?
The snackfood industry in Japan is extremely turbulent with dozens of new products introduced each year. To compete for shelf space, manufacturers have to create hit products every season or they risk losing distribution. To survive (and thrive) Japan Frito-Lay has followed local custom and launches all kinds of unusual snacks that are not available in other markets (anybody for Mike brand green-tea popcorn or Potato de Pasta, carbonara sauce-flavored potato snacks?). Shocking and strange snacks are pretty much par for the course in Japan. Think you can create interest with another run-of-the-mill line extension? Think again. This is a market where you can find sea-urchin munchies and beef tongue flavored ice cream. A foot in the crotch may be just what it takes to catch the eyes of some jaded consumers.
I'm particularly fond of the original Tights-kun set of alphabet fonts. . .
* This particular pose (foot in crotch) is known amongst the Japanese as denki anma (translation: electric massage). Japanese boys are known to put each other in the position, especially when imitating pro wrestlers. Done correctly, the foot is placed on the perineum and the guy in control shakes his whole leg to send vibrations into his victim. In terms of western youth antics, it's a bit like giving somebody a noogie, except in this case some recipients are actually fond of being on the receiving end (despite the obvious risks).
Zany Japanese TV ads, products, etc.
I have a few posted here.
Other Japan-only products