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Defending Anglosphere sauces against Japanese musical attack

The war is winding down into its “this war isn’t over yet – there are still pockets of resistance” phase, and now, I feel, is the time to be talking about soya sauce, and its various occidental rivals. In connection with soya sauce, my blog-enthusiasm of the week, Dave Barry, is right when he says that you need to experience this. This is a catchy tune full of fun, cleverly illustrated by a team of top graphic designers. This illustrated tune both promotes a Japanese brand of soya sauce, and criticises non-Japanese rivals, such as “Worcestershire” Sauce (which I prefer to think of as Worcester sauce but that may just be me).

Is this one of the futures of advertising on the Internet? It’s no good just putting up a sign saying “buy our soya sauce – it’s very nice”, although I’ve seen far stupider slogans. No, you need a bit of wit, fun, pep, fizz, and Dave Barry appeal. That way your stupid advert will stop being a mere advert and become an Internet Meme.

And could it also be one of the futures of pop music? There was a time when advertising jingles were strictly poor cousins to regular non-promotional pop songs. But could the economics of the music business be about to change this? After all, these people want you to listen to this tune for free, and to circulate it to all your friends and internet contacts. They make their money when everyone reveals their increased awareness of the brand to market researchers and when they buy the sauce.

On the subject of non-Japanese rivals, I was at school with a chap called Perrins, whose family were involved with Lea & Perrins Sauce, which is a particular variety of Worcester Sauce. Perrins had unlimited supplies, but we would have preferred it if he had been called Rowntree (like the gruesome Senior Prefect in Lindsay Anderson’s movie If), or perhaps Mars, or maybe Cadbury. The Lea & Perrins website calls its product “Worcestershire” sauce too, I notice. And this site also elaborates on the Worcester sauce theme, although this one calls it “Worcherstershire” sauce, which is definitely wrong. Personally I don’t much like Worcester Sauce, although I quite like Worcester Sauce flavoured crisps. However, I prefer these Marmite flavoured crisps, which are truly excellent, and also greatly to be preferred to Bovril flavoured crisps, in my opinion.

Best of all, saucewise, is surely Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Who can forget the product placement of this mighty mayo in Woody Allen’s movie Hannah and Her Sisters? Not me, I can tell you that for nothing.

Aaaaahhhh … braaaaaaands.

18 comments to Defending Anglosphere sauces against Japanese musical attack

  • John Thacker

    There’s an amusing cross-lingual pun in there too. The Japanese word for soy sauce is “shooyu,” pronounced the same as “show you.” Hence the “show me, show you” comments.

    You are incorrect about mayo, however, but it’s not your fault. The best mayonnaise, absolutely, is Duke’s Mayonnaise, but it’s not sold outside of the American South.

  • Gregory Litchfield

    Could someone explain what the point of the hanged cat is? I get the feeling he committed suicide for having used the wrong brand of sauce, but wouldn’t hairi kiri been a more culturally appropriate choice?

  • George

    Marmite chips?!!! Bleecchhh! The mere thought makes me nauseous.

  • “Worcester sauce”. Shouldn’t that be “Wooster”?

    Sincerely yours,
    Ms. Featherstone-Haugh

    (I love the English language…)

  • Do be advised that Hellman’s Mayonnaise as purveyed in the UK is NOT the same as that sold in the USA. It was reformulated for the UK buyer. In the USA, there are two formulations now; one for retail, and the original for the restaurant business. Do wish they’d quit mucking about with the flavors!

    P.S. MB does like L&P Worcestershire Sauce. Since there is a city called Worcester in MA, the pronunciation is not a problem.

  • Byron

    but wouldn’t hairi kiri been a more culturally appropriate choice?

    Only if he was a samurai cat. And even then, the ritual disemboweling has been against Japanese for over a century. That’s why the cats and businessmen hang themselves (or something equally droll) now, instead of slicing their guts out.

  • John Thacker

    Yeah, there’s a Worcester, MA. However, those ever-boring and down-to-earth Ohioans decided to actually spell their town name as Wooster, Ohio. How very Ohio.

  • S. Weasel

    The maternal bear is right; UK Hellman’s bears no gustatory relationship to US Hellman’s. Puzzled that the brit variety tasted thin and ‘orrible, I actually smuggled a jar of the genuine article into the UK and held the labels side by side. The US version contains much more egg and much less vinegar, as god intended.

    Meanwhile. Lea and Perrins is the worcestershire sauce, and tastes the same wherever you go.

    Now, can someone explain brown sauce, please?

  • Marmite chips! Hallelujah! I am running to the supermarket and it is my after-image that is typing this comment!!!

  • anon

    lea&perrins is the definitive not-so-secret-any-more ingredient for the most perfect bolognese sauce north of the Alps.

  • The Kikkoman Flash SUBTITLED!
    What’s interesting is that the cat doesn’t commit suicide in this version, though everything else is the same.

  • cheshirecat

    “(I love the English language…)”

    Me too…

    Mr. Cholmondeley

  • Well, translating Japanese animation and removing the really disturbing parts before showing it on Saturday morning television is something that has been going on for decades, so I suppose the translated version is typical.

  • Another thing of course is that in recent years the advertising industry has moved away from original jingles and towards using original recordings of pop music in commercials. Take this to the internet, and what you have is essentially advertisers sponsoring your downloads of popular music, or perhaps a model where you essentially have a music video where the musician takes control of the audio and the advertiser the visuals. This is potentially interesting.

  • Tony Harrison

    Sad to see all these perceptive, tough minded, articulate, right-thinking people going all gooey over such abominations as (choke) Marmite flavoured crisps, Lea & Perrins sauce etc . The latter especially is striking in its ability to be both boring and very nasty, simultaneously. Each to his own, and the Japs do soya sauce properly… As for Hellman’s “mayonnaise” I’d have thought there were grounds here for litigation: mayonnaise is (the best) olive oil, egg yolk, and a tad of seasoning, no more. The supermarket items are just factory glop, end of story…

  • Jim

    “What’s interesting is that the cat doesn’t commit suicide in this version, though everything else is the same”

    Not so — look at the bed scene towards the end. In the English version the covers are pulled up but in the Japanese version they are much lower and Kikkoman’s arm covers the female’s breasts.

    Other differences include the “Smoking is bad for your health” warning in the English version.

  • Lloyd Newman

    Is L&P Worcestershire Sauce kosher?

    Thank you, Lloyd Newman

  • I like your web design