McDonald's exploits white American nerdiness to sell burgers

McDonald's exploits white American nerdiness to sell burgers

Love him or hate him, McDonald's Japan's new mascot Mr. James is the talk of the internet
Mr. James
The speech bubble has Mr. James delivering his catchphrase "Tamaran desu" ("I can't resist it!") in broken Japanese.

Japan is buzzing about Mr. James -- a 43-year-old stout American from Ohio who wears silk ties with his red sports shirt. Despite striking verisimilitude, Mr. James is not, in fact, a real person.

Mr. James is the new 'mascot' for McDonald's Nippon All Stars campaign. The marketing department of the burger giant decided to invent an annoying American who speaks in stilted Japanese as a promotion for its new Japanese-themed sandwiches Chicken Tatsuya and the eggy Tamago Double Mac. A Japanese spokesman for Japanese burgers, no doubt, would be seen as dangerously over-patriotic.

Locally based North Americans are not so excited about Mr. James, claiming that he exploits unfair stereotypes of some of their fellow countryfolk. For example, his spoken Japanese is written in katakana script, which is usually reserved for sound effects and foreign phrases. In other words, the text makes out his dialogue as if it sounds like Japanese but isn't real Japanese. Mr. James basically sounds like a poorly programmed tourist robot.

The most unrealistic thing about Mr. James, however, is that he has a young blond daughter Jennifer who wears the exact same glasses. Since when do American girls copy their dad's fashion choices for eyewear?

Those who want to see the daily travel diary of this PR creation (complete with suspiciously enthusiastic commenters) should check out the official Mr. James blog [Japanese]. YouTube offers a few video selections from the TV campaign: "Mr. James Celebrates Hanabi" and "Mr James."