Japanese firm suffers rebranding “Fukuppy”

One of Japan’s largest refrigeration companies has been ridiculed on the internet for its new mascot, an egg with wings with the unfortunate moniker “Fukuppy”.

The firm, Fukushima Industries Corp, a completely unrelated entity from the nuclear plant devastated in 2011, has since removed the mascot from their website and have said they are now looking into renaming it.

The initial intention behind the unfortunate name was to combine the first letters of the firm’s name, “fuku” with the English word, “happy”.

In the image above, it greets visitors to the website with the chirpy message:

”I’m Fukuppy. I think I’m kind, with a strong sense of justice, but people say I’m a little bit scatterbrained.”

Japanese corporations and civil sectors often introduce cartoon mascots to their branding strategy, from air purification unit manufacturers to the Ministry of Health. Think Ronald McDonald and the Michelin Man, only cuter.

Pipo-Kun, mascot for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police

However, because many Japanese brand names are based on English words, unfortunate results sometimes ensue, such as when the Osaka-based confectionery company released its Cream Collon sweets.

Also, Calpis Co Ltd’s longstanding flagship product, Calpis – which is supposed to combine the words calcium and the Sanskrit sarpis, meaning butter flavour – unsurprisingly changed its name to Calpico for US consumers.

In the age of the internet, there’s no such thing as a purely local company. A successful marketing strategy can go viral and a brand can achieve global recognition. However, the same also rings true of disastrous marketing campaigns.

It’s obvious which boat a company wants to sit in. At Today Translations, our cultural consulting and translation services ensure that your company branding doesn’t just avoid becoming the laughing stock of the internet, but actually succeeds in your target market and doesn’t, well, “Fuckuppy”.

If you’d like to find out more about our translation, localisation and cultural consulting services, get in touch with us at [email protected] or at +44 (0) 207 397 2770