Wednesday, October 28, 2009

╠ Hypocrisy has a place in the market ╣

One man. One mission. To get a Windows 7 Whopper. Over in Japan to celebrate the release of Winodws 7, Burger King (Who we in Australia all know as Hungry Jacks) has created the Windows 7 Whopper. 7 Beef patties for the low cost of 777 yen.

I find it amusing how Hungry Jacks can get away with this, however McDonald's as the market leader is slammed heavily for being the case of obesity. As the biggest they are the easiest target. McDonald's has to adapt to the demands of the ethics spouting consumers who believe they are the evil of the world.

The thing I find even more amusing is that McDonald's facing these concerns and adapting their menu to the complaining consumers desires hasn't hurt them. If anything it has made them a stronger market leader. In normal circumstances you would think that putting limitations onto a player in a market compared to its competitors, would disadvantage it until it loses it's competitive edge.

So in this case acting ethically was the more beneficial option. Though this raises the question why if healthy is competitive, such a burger would exist as the Windows 7 Whopper.

The idea of ethical actions leading to benefits for a company is known as the Business Case for CSR. CHeck it out if you want to find more about the ethical side of corporations.


Nathan Bush said...

Nice observation. Would love a calorie count on KFC Mega Boxes as well! Good to see the health shift which was started by govts and media has started to be pushed by public though.

Mark said...

Firstly, it’s not Hungry Jacks that got away with this; it’s Burger King Japan. Similar burgers, maybe, but Hungry Jacks is related to Burger King in so far as Competitive Foods Australia (who owns and runs/sublicences HJs) being one of the Master Licencees of Burger King USA. What BK Japan does, and what CFA/HJ does is completely separate. If Hungry Jacks could get away with this, Daniel wouldn’t have had to request a special burger (it’d just be on the menu)

That Burger King JP gets away with it is indicative of the sociological differences between here and Japan. In western countries, the burden of blame is being shifted from one’s self to others. It’s Mcdonald’s fault that I eat there too much and get fat. It’s HJ’s fault that I decided to order 7 patties on my burger. It’s someone else’s fault for what I do. This shift of burden is responsible for the glut of frivolous civil lawsuits in the US.

In Japan, however, many aspects come with responsibilities. It’s my responsibility if I make the Win7 burger a daily occurrence, and therefore gain weight. It’s my responsibility to be my age and not request alcohol when I’m under 20, even if it’s availability makes getting 15yos drunk quite easily. There’s a greater level of Self responsibility in Japan. For BK Japan to release this burger as a limited time only offer, it’s not frowned upon by health experts because there’s the tacit understanding that this ain’t healthy if consumed daily. It’s a level of self responsibility and balance that allows Japanese fast food companies to release special edition menu items that are insane bordering on stupid. I recall that, whilst there was a healthy push in Australia, Japan’s McDonald’s menu was the normal burgers and fat.

Finally, and being about Windows, I think this needs to be said: “What short memories we have”. Normally, I’d be referring to the “problems” of WinVista and how the people complaining did and said the same thing with WinXP, and to a lesser extent (as less people remember this), with Win95. However, I think sometimes a year is too long to remember stuff. As it was, about 13 months ago, TV commercials started promoting the Hungry Jack's Quad Stack Burger. In retrospect, it was tiny (not much bigger than an triple cheeseburger, and I needed 2 of these, compared with one Pounder grill from Maccas), but still, the mass media ranted and raved that it was horribly unhealthy. Oh how quickly we forget