New Fukishima Mascot, Fukuppy, Is The ‘New Coke’ Of Japanese Rebranding
You have to feel a bit sorry for that smiling little egg guy up there. Here it is, ready to welcome visitors to the website for Fukushima Industries and promise them a happy browsing experience as they look over the company’s fine array of industrial cooling equipment, but it’s saddled with an insufficiently-researched name. The company says it had intended to combine the first two syllables of its name with “happy,” but it didn’t consult with any native English speakers before sending the mascot out into the world. (There’s no connection between the corporation and the prefecture where the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is located — “Fukushima” just means “lucky island.” Which hasn’t worked out so great either lately.)
The character was introduced in April, but only became a social-media joke this past weekend.
Once the company became aware that “Fukuppy” also sounded like “an inappropriate word among people in English-speaking places,” it issued a statement saying
“We sincerely apologise for worrying many people and creating misunderstanding among them.
“We will look into the name, including a rethink of it.”
While the mascot’s creators failed to explore possible connotations of the name, they did create a biography for the character on the company website. Fukuppy
claims to have been born in a Fukushima Industries Corp fridge, is unsure whether it is male or female and is curious, kind and has “a strong sense of justice.”
“That’s what I think of myself, but people around me say that I’m a little bit stupid,” the flying egg says in its disarming manner. “But I’m trying to be better.”
We suppose they’ll have to go ahead and rename the little critter, for the sake of business, unless of course they get a compelling offer from the Republican party, which could use a bit of rebranding itself these days.
And of course, anyone who thinks this kind of corporate Fukuppy is uniquely Japanese should go bite the wax tadpole.