Japan is deeply dyed in age-old traditions and beliefs. One of these old
beliefs is that a woman's mouth should be small and discreet. That is
why there is a cultural convention of women covering their mouths when
they eat, Freshness Burger Liberation Wrapper (You Tube Image)especially in public and not eating anything that requires
taking a big bite. For Freshness Burger, a Japanese fast food
restaurant, this has created a huge challenge in marketing their biggest
burger to women.
A large, open mouth in public is considered ugly and rude. Women will apply make-up to make their lips look small and dainty -- much the opposite of the American going for big lips full of collagen. The concept is called "ochobo" in Japanese etiquette in which a small, modest mouth is preferred. In addition to hiding behind their hands to eat, they will also cover up to laugh. Looking at women in Japanese art their mouths are often covered by their hands or fans. This must make dental visits extra hell for Japanese women.
This means that Japanese women are not allowed the pure enjoyment the rest of us get from taking a big, honest bite from our favorite jumbo-sized burger. Heaven forbid that they should be so uncouth!
Freshness Burger Liberation Wrapper (You Tube Image)Using one hand to cover your mouth while you eat makes it downright impossible to eat one of those two-handed burgers. As a result Freshness Burger couldn't sell its biggest burger to the female demographic. They needed a marketing ploy that would help them skirt this cultural issue.
Instead of trying to change the culture of a nation, they chose to just go with it. They created a wrapper for their burgers that has a sort of "modesty panel." It allows the ladies to enjoy that burger with gusto all the while hiding behind a petite closed mouth. The mask gives them a freedom that they didn't formerly have -- it gives them liberation.
The wrapper has been an enormous success for Freshness Burger. In just one month the sales of their biggest burger was up a whopping 213%. That certainly makes this a marketing phenomenon.
To those of us in Western cultures this all sounds very weird and backward. After all this is the 21st century and they don't bind women's feet anymore. True. But when things are so deeply ingrained it takes time for things to really change. Sometimes there needs to be a catalyst to propel the change. Who knows? Maybe the Liberation Wrapper is just such a catalyst.
Source: LA Times