Friday, April 1, 2005

McDonald Germany's New Asian Themed Ads

Reader Jenny G. emails:

"Today, I came across a new McDonald's ad running in Germany. Apparently, they have come up with an asian-themed menu for Asia Weeks there in Germany. My problem is that they have managed to make a shape on the top of the sandwich buns that looks a bit like the kanji for 'Strength', but not quite. So I was hoping you could help me out.

You can watch the TV spot on the web site. Just wait for their Flash page to load and you will see a section called Hin & Ham Wochen, with green bamboo. Click that, and in the bottom right corner of the pop up window, click on "Funk & TV." which will bring up the commercial. Anything you might figure out will help."

(Screenshots: 1, 2, 3, 4)

The character shown in the McDonald's ad in fact does not exist in the Kanji listing. It is indeed an incorrectly written (strength, power, capability, influence) with an extra dot.

Similar characters are:

= knife; old coin; measure
= tricky, sly, crafty, cunning
= strength, power, capability, influence
= edged tool, cutlery, knife edge
= manage, do, handle; deal with
= spoon, ladle; knife, dirk
= seven


  1. At least they managed not to write "unhealthy" on it.

  2. The Yin burger ("Sweet and Sour!") has "[A] Savory/juicy pork [patty]with fresh cucumbers and and crisp salad mix on a fruity Mango/Wasabi sauce." Somehow I don't see mango and wasabi as going together very well.

    The Yang burger (Spicy!) is " [A] Savory/Juicy beef [patty] with tomatoes and crisp salad mix on a delicious, spicy Curry sauce." This doesn't sound so bad?

    Both items are on the dollar ("save") menu. Also, if you make your meal maxi, you now have more choices.

  3. Maxi is a brand of female hygiene pads maded by the Kotex corporation.

    I doubt I would want to get the "maxi" value meal.

  4. Could be a misplaced dot on the Japanese hiragana - か.

  5. Or a really badly written 存.

  6. I don't think it was Japanese Hiragana か.

    The reason is that when you watch the TV ad to the end, it shows "ich liebe es" and 我就喜欢 ("I am lovin' It") in Simplified Chinese; which is the same slogan used to promote McDonald's China.

    McDonald's Japan uses different slogan.

  7. I think it is the character for "round"; I am unsure about Chinese, but in Japanese, 丸 means "circle" and 丸い means "round". And because the burger is round, I'd bet that it's a miswritten 丸. This character is pronounced "maru".

  8. I hypothesise that they intentionally used a character that is almost, but not quite, a real Hanzi, because they didn't want to deal with any actual meanings. Like how Simlish is used in the Sims.

  9. Kyle,

    In Chinese, means "small spherical object or pellet". It is also interesting to mention that 睾丸 means "testicles".

    There was a recent incident about a piece of human finger tip found in Wendy's food, so I doubt I would be surprised if someone has found testicles (human or animal) in McD's food.

  10. Also, as an FYI, 丸 = maru in Musashimaru, the Yokozuna. A couple reasons are in the ether for why he got this. One is that it is a match for his real name, FiaMALU. The other is that the okamisan was reminded of a ship or something, and maru is used in ship's names.

    The other place you see maru is the Japanese flag, the "hi no maru" or "circle of the sun".

  11. Tian: Regarding Maxi... Since this is a commercial for McDonald's in Germany, and they're actively using the term, I suspect that they do not use or have the same brand in Germany, so it wouldn't make any difference to them.

  12. Glenn,

    The "maxi" reference was a joke.

  13. Hey Token, you shouldn't knock the mango/wasabi sauce before you try it. I had sauce like that on seared ahi once and it was quite yummy.

    Just found this site the other day and I think it's great. If anyone is watching college basketball this weekend, be sure to check out Sean May from North Carolina. He has 可以 tattooed on his arm, but maybe someone told him it's stupid cause he covers most of it up with a sweatband now.

  14. I hate to say it, but it might be a sick and mistranslated joke by someone in sales and development. ;)

    First thing that came to mind after seeing Tian's translation? "You may need silverwear to eat this product."

    Just like "This coffee is hot.", only for way way less intelligent people.

  15. The burger bun is loaded with steroids, and that is the hanji for strength. Baseball players in america have been ordering them overseas.