May 18, 2016

Japanese ad shows ice cream company workers and executives soberly apologizing for raising the price of their ice cream bar.



From ¥60 to ¥70, the first price rise in 20 years.

“Garigari-kun is meant to be something kids can easily buy with their allowance,” said Fumio Hagiwara, a marketing executive at Akagi Nyugyo, the maker of the ice cream bar. “Even grown-ups have less pocket money these days.”...

“We don’t have any more income, but taxes are rising,” said Kazuko Ida, 65, who lives in Tokyo. As a result, she said, she is especially reluctant to spend more. “It’s one thing if luxury items are expensive, but if cheap things aren’t cheap anymore, it’s a real problem.”

31 comments:

Curious George said...

I think they should apologize that their little mascot has round eyes http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/19/business/international/japan-economy-deflation-prices.html?smid=pl-share

HoodlumDoodlum said...

(70 yen is about $0.64)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Wiki: Fixed Price of Coca Cola from 1886 to 1959

Nickel a bottle!

YoungHegelian said...

Japanese culture is unique in its love for the formal & public apology. Understand that for the miscreant who's doing the apologizing it's often not the prelude to some act of penance or restitution as it would be in, let's say, a more Christian understanding of contrition. The penance starts & stops at the public apology.

I have heard similar views from merchants who sell, for example, deli sandwiches for lunch to blue collar guys, that "an additional dollar for lunch actually means something to these guys".

Smilin' Jack said...

"Japanese ad shows ice cream company workers and executives soberly apologizing for raising the price of their ice cream bar."

Whatever happened to hara-kiri? OK, it's messy, but to truly maintain honor, "Sorry" just isn't good enough.

Todd said...

Wait, that can't be so! We have been repeatedly told that businesses have an endless ability to pay "their fair share" in the form of additional wages and benefits to the workers and additional taxes to the government. To be "forced" to raise prices means that either the folks running this business are incompetent and should be replaced by [the] far more competent government alternatives or [heaven help us] there really is no such thing as a bottomless bucket of money that businesses have at their disposal to dip into any time they wish!

buwaya said...

"Understand that for the miscreant who's doing the apologizing it's often not the prelude to some act of penance or restitution as it would be in, let's say, a more Christian understanding of contrition. The penance starts & stops at the public apology."

Modern western understanding of public apologies, personal ones anyway, do not include any elements of penance either. Those on behalf of a business usually involve paying someone, but that is in the context of a lawsuit.

There are no self-scourgings, going on pilgrimages or crusades, crawling on ones knees up the Cathedral steps, washing the feet of the poor, or other such abasements. Things would go better I think if such were to come back into fashion.

EDH said...

Facebook should have to do that for conservatives.

EDH said...

Wonder why they chose the Japanese "Bob Dylan" music.

YoungHegelian said...

@buwaya,

There are no self-scourgings, going on pilgrimages or crusades, crawling on ones knees up the Cathedral steps, washing the feet of the poor, or other such abasements. Things would go better I think if such were to come back into fashion.

The thing that upset me most about the 2008 Wall Street meltdown is how the Wall Streeters involved felt no need to do any penance for it. I mean, run an old & august company like Lehmann Brothers into the ground, & I expect penance. Join a monastery, devote yourself to charitable works, discover the joys of tikkun olam, or just honorably commit suicide. But no. None of the above. Seemingly not even any remorse at all. Just "well, I guess shit just ran out of control, didn't it?". If you admit you can't control any part of the process, what am I paying you for?

It was then that I realized for sure that there are no menschen left on Wall Street. Which is really, really sad because those are the sort of industries where if a man's word isn't his bond, truly awful things can happen. I expect a reckoning to come to the finance industry in the next fifteen or twenty years, & when it does, they will learn that customer trust once lost is almost impossible to regain.

bagoh20 said...

Pathetic.

In a free market, you have nothing to apologize for. The price is public, as is the quality. If someone else isn't selling it cheaper, you are the best possible supplier, and should be proud of yourselves. If your quality or price are out of line, you still have nothing to apologize for. The market will either ignore it, or punish you appropriately. The only time such an apology is appropriate is if you deceive your customers about what they are paying or what they will get.

I can't believe these people used to be such scary fighters and oppressors. Did we kill all the Japanese who had balls?

buwaya said...

"I can't believe these people used to be such scary fighters and oppressors. Did we kill all the Japanese who had balls?"

They used to do stuff like this back then too.
Just not to the people they were oppressing.
There is nothing new here.

mockturtle said...

It was then that I realized for sure that there are no menschen left on Wall Street.
Next you'll be telling me that carnival games are rigged!

Darrell said...

The ad agency thought it would make a winning commercial. A change of pace from little girls and tentacles.

Jason said...

I find this touching actually.

Japanese children love their snacks. It's a cultural thing that doesn't translate directly to American culture.

I grew up in Hawaii and taught high school at an almost all Japanese school in Hawaii Kai. I also went to both elementary school and intermediate school in that community, and was a YMCA counselor with mostly Japanese-American ten year olds, with a couple of teenage assistant counselors. Great American kids but they'd pepper fluent English with occasional Japanese terms. "Thank you" was common, but when particularly enthusiastic you got a warm and smiling "Domo!"

Snacks were a major deal. And a kid who brought new snacks - especially from Japan - was held in especially high esteem by his or her peers, especially if they bought enough to share.

Lots of Chinese crackseed snacks, too, with the Japanese snacks. Li hing mui dried plums, dried cuttlefish (sort of a fish beef jerky,), savory, salty, sweet, whatever. These kids had a MUCH wider palate than the white kids, and most of them were 2nd or 3rd generation or more and very Americanized. Local cracked snack stores were a favorite allowance day destination. Jars of snacks on shelves so high the little Okinawan granny who ran the shop would have to use a ladder to get them. They were buying homes in Hawaii on snacks sold to 6-13 year olds, $1 to $10 at a time.

Among Japanese moms, preparing a fun, attractive bento box lunch for schoolchildren is also a cultural imperative. No, you can't just throw a PBJ in a sack and a bag of chips and a juice in a brown paper bag. NOOOOOO!!!! That's a sign of neglect!

These kids would come in with adorable bento box lunches and you open them up and its a panda bear made of white rice and black seasonings sleeping under a blanket made of eggs, with fried Spam musubi with hearts and happy faces drawn with god knows what sticky sauce.

Damn, I'm getting homesick. :-)

eddie willers said...

Wonder why they chose the Japanese "Bob Dylan" music.


I think you can sing either "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain" or "I've Been Working On The Railroad" to it.

Char Char Binks said...

They have brought dishonor upon their ancestors.

mockturtle said...

Time to commit seppuku.

buwaya said...

" Local cracked snack stores were a favorite allowance day destination. Jars of snacks on shelves so high the little Okinawan granny who ran the shop would have to use a ladder to get them. They were buying homes in Hawaii on snacks sold to 6-13 year olds, $1 to $10 at a time."

Its interesting how broadly this reaches. We had Japanese snacks in Manila, even decades ago. Pocky was a favorite. In SF these days a fashionable spot among teenage girls, in particular, is Japantown, where they have exactly these sorts of snack stores.

Richard said...

They could have avoided this by leaving the price the same and cutting the size of the bar as is done in the US. Half gallon ice cream packages suddenly became 48 ounce packages without any notice on the part of the companies.

steve uhr said...

No one would dream of making such an ad in this country. Bringing attention to a price increase doesn't seem like a smart move in most situations. Very different cultures.

eddie willers said...

Very different cultures.

I worked for JVC (Victor Company of Japan) in the '80s and can attest to that. But both nationalities at our branch just loved Ron Howard's movie Gung Ho.

Great satires must hew close to the truth and Gung Ho was spot on. Our thoroughly Americanized manager, Taki Takahara, couldn't quit quoting it. If we screwed up, he'd laugh and suggest we should receive a "ribbon of shame".

Anglelyne said...

Young Hegelian: The thing that upset me most about the 2008 Wall Street meltdown is how the Wall Streeters involved felt no need to do any penance for it. I mean, run an old & august company like Lehmann Brothers into the ground, & I expect penance.

Mistakes were made, economies were melted down.

Cassandra said...



I too find this touching. However, over the twenty years in which the price did not increase, did the size of the bar and its quality also remain unchanged? If so, I would be surprised. But if so, this company is also admirable.

Anglelyne said...

bagoh20:

Pathetic.

In a free market, you have nothing to apologize for. The price is public, as is the quality. If someone else isn't selling it cheaper, you are the best possible supplier, and should be proud of yourselves. If your quality or price are out of line, you still have nothing to apologize for. The market will either ignore it, or punish you appropriately. The only time such an apology is appropriate is if you deceive your customers about what they are paying or what they will get.


Beep boop. Non-contract/market-based interactions among humans do not compute. Japanese society must be purified by destroying their culture and replacing it with a libertarian utopia as envisaged by teen-aged Ayn Rand fanboys.

I can't believe these people used to be such scary fighters and oppressors. Did we kill all the Japanese who had balls?

This is quite possibly the stupidest, spergiest comment ever posted on the internet.

bagoh20 said...

Why, thank you. You accused me of being both half my age as well as and exceptional beyond my wildest dreams.

Unfortunately, I can't accept the praise, as my comment was not libertarian ideology, but factual statement of the obvious. Just because some culture somewhere pretends otherwise does not change the facts of how human exchange is driven at its fairest. I've listened to people justify everything from theft to assault and even rape based on the claim that it's their culture. This is clearly not that dysfunctional, but it is another type of delusion that distorts the truth of the dynamic. I fear your particular culture probably has no word for the concept of "satire".

Fernandinande said...

The only part of Japan's weird culture that I can identify with is their desire to kill whales.

Bob Loblaw said...

I mean, run an old & august company like Lehmann Brothers into the ground, & I expect penance.

Why? Were you a shareholder?

bagoh20 said...

Come to think of it, it was exactly the Japanese who claimed that their theft, assault, and rape of the Chinese, among others, was simply their superior culture expressing itself.

Clearly, I'm not anywhere near "quite possibly the stupidest, spergiest comment ever posted on the internet.", but your GPS should be saying about now that you have arrived at your destination.

BN said...

We are all weird in our own way, aren't we perfesser? i mean, sometimes the things that interest us are just not that interesting.

...much.

But...

It does lead to far off places. I sometimes like to think of how it'd have worked out with the Japs dealing with Hitler over time.

I know...

Dave D said...

"They could have avoided this by leaving the price the same and cutting the size of the bar as is done in the US. Half gallon ice cream packages suddenly became 48 ounce packages without any notice on the part of the companies"

Actually, what I thought was "why so many executives in suits for an ice cream bar company? Surely they could cut overhead to maintain prices on this commodity?