Marketing Halloween in Japan 2014: KFC Halloween Bucket

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It’s that time again!

I don't even. Unknown source.
(source unknown)

As I’ve written before, Halloween has exploded into the Japanese food scene. Ten years ago, there were–as to be expected–barely any Halloween specials or goods. An increasingly large cultural shift toward Halloween as popular (children’s) holiday began sometime around 2010. While some of the shift was motivated by consumer demand, the ramped up marketing has increased awareness and consumer demand, leading other businesses to make their own Halloween specials to keep up with the popularity of the holiday.

These posts are not to promote these products or companies but are meant to highlight the relationship between increasing popular awareness about Halloween (via English-language education and American expats and immigrants) and the increasing market saturation of Halloween as a means of selling seasonal and limited-time goods. I am not compensated for these posts; nor am I endorsing the products.

Not living in Japan anymore means I rely on my readers, social media, and other bloggers to help me cover Halloween. Inheriting Exile was kind enough to tip me off about KFC and Pocky’s new campaigns. (Some of her recipes are in the Japan-friendly recipe section!)

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Source: KFC Japan

“Kentucky Halloween” (KFC)

KFC, or ケンタッキー, has successfully campaigned for fried chicken as the Christmas mean for a few decades now, and this year, the company has set its sights on Halloween. The Halloween bucket (“barrel” バレール in Japanese) includes 6 pieces of the original recipe chicken, 2 small fries, and 2 pumpkin biscuits (in the American sense, not the British).

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Source: KFC Japan

The campaign and pumpkin biscuits will be available from Oct. 16-31. (You can reserve yourself a bucket, too!)

The lid of the bucket can be made into a mask. The menu and website are also decorated in cute ghosts and pumpkins. The cuteness of Halloween is something I’ve written about before in these Halloween posts. Whether that’s Japanese aesthetic sensibility or a way of drawing in children to fast food is unclear, but it’s very striking how Halloween is almost consistently cute in Japanese food and advertising, whereas in the US, the aesthetic is more good-naturedly creepy.

Also of note: there’s no explanation thus far of what Halloween is, leading me to conclude that KFC assumes the consumer knows of Halloween already.

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Blood biscuits? Source: KFC Japan

I’m having a little trouble imagining eating a savory pumpkin biscuit with ketchup (is that supposed to be blood?) on it, but if any of you try it, let me know how it was!

So far on my to-blog list for Halloween, I have Kit Kats, Lupicia, Pocky, and StarbucksDo you have any tips, photos, taste-tests, or links you’d like me to feature? Are any of your local businesses in Japan making Halloween-themed food? Leave me a comment or contact me on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr

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