Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Traditional KFC Christmas

In Japan, Colonel Sanders is about as iconic as Santa. Fried chicken may have been a traditional solstice dinner to begin with, but KFC really capitalized on it by running an uber successful marketing campaign several years ago, and it is the thing to eat this time of year, if the advertisements are to be believed, particularly on New Year's Eve.

Mix in Christmas being a date night (New Year's is the family holiday), and couples will line up down the block to get KFC. To seal the deal for character recognition, every KFC I've seen in Japan has a life-sized fiberglass Colonel standing by the door. When Husband dressed up as the beloved Colonel for Halloween, we knew he'd get some attention, but we didn't necessarily expect him to achieve rock star status, which he did.

So of course he broke out the look again for Christmas.
Just as the Christmas Chicken predicted.
Reactions in the early afternoon were more subdued than we thought, but the later it was, the more he was recognized. More than once we were at risk of blocking high-traffic areas (sidewalks, photo spots in front of mall holiday displays, train stations, random storefronts) with spontaneous queues that formed after the first person recognized Kentucky-ojisan fast enough to pull out their phone/camera and ask for a picture.

He got every reaction from blank stares and confusion (mostly older folks, some foreigners) to full-on freak-outs complete with clapping and jumping up and down (usually women). Most people that noticed the white suit, of course, were just delighted. Eyes widened, smiles appeared, jaws dropped, hands waved excitedly. Even when he wasn't stopped for pictures, he left a trail of giggles in his wake. It was awesome.

If you ever feel sad, dress up as something people love and go out in public. People just get so excited! They don't know you, but they're sure as heck happy to see you.

This is not the longest queue, but I was coming back from the restroom. When I was there to act as photographer, there were easily 20 people in line in a couple places, but I couldn't stop long enough to take my own pictures. On the plus side, I am now familiar with a variety of makes and models of camera phones.

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