McDonald’s Jingle Becomes Indonesia’s J-Pop Single of the Month

“No one knew that it was an ad. The lyrics were in Japanese, untranslated, and people thought that it was just a nice feel-good J-Pop song.”

A surprising new song called Nihon No Fureeba has topped Indonesia’s music charts and become the #1 search on Shazam.

Surprising you ask? Here is a verse from the song’s lyrics:

Soft bun, crispy nori
Yakiniku sauce and authentic taste
McDonald’s Taste of Japan
What a uniquely awesome flavor 


 

Hai, it’s a McDonald’s jingle.

But how could an ad become the country’s favorite pop song? Ravi Shanker, Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett Indonesia, the creative agency behind the ad explains:

“Because no one knew that it was an ad. The lyrics were in Japanese, untranslated, and people thought that it was just a nice feel-good J-Pop song!”


 

“Japanese pop culture is strong in Indonesia. People love Japanese pop songs and put them in their playlists, sing along, even wearing cool t-shirts with Japanese letters—all without understanding what they mean.”

According to the campaign, this cultural finding propelled Leo Burnett to create the song Nihon No Fureeba, collaborating with Indonesian-Japanese singer Ica Zahra.

Ica released the song as her highly-anticipated Japanese single, without subtitles. Everyone loved the song without knowing that it was in fact an untranslated ad. Within one week, the music video was watched more than three million times. The song became the talk of radio, and hundreds of covers and TikTok dances were made.

Then, Ica Zahra and McDonald’s made a shocking revelation. The lyrics were in fact promoting the relaunch of McDonald’s Taste of Japan burgers featuring crispy nori and Yakiniku sauce. Suddenly, everyone’s attention shifted to the burgers.

The message: even though some might not understand McDonald’s onigiri-looking burgers (some even go so far as to call them ‘weird’), they’ll love the taste anyway. Just like they love Japanese songs, said the campaign.

With the launch of Nihon No Fureeba, people’s curiosity towards the burgers spiked so fast that first-week sales surpassed the past 3 years, Leo Burnett added in a release.

Michael Hartono, Marketing Director at McDonald’s Indonesia, said: “At the end of the day, the campaign is making people love not only the burgers but also the brand. Even after people realized that it was an ad, they still continue doing karaoke with it, and the song–I mean the jingle–is now in thousands of Spotify playlists to this day.”

Well, the moral of this story is: next time a J-Pop song is released, make sure that it’s not a McDonald’s ad.

Find out more about McDonald’s ‘The Untranslated Ad’ here:


Credits – McDonald’s – The Untranslated Ad

Client: McDonald’s Indonesia

Director of Marcomms, CBI & Digital: Michael Hartono

Associate Director of Marketing: Caroline Kurniadjaja

Marketing Manager: Rio Hastowo

Marketing Manager: William Karmawan

Assistant Marketing Manager: Widya Noviantal

Agency: Leo Burnett Indonesia

CEO: Sony Nichani

CCO: Ravi Shanker

CCO, Southeast Asia: Ajay Thrivikraman

Senior Creative Director: Dafi Alfadila

Associate CD & Writer: Joshua Tjandra

General Manager: Yusdina Fibriyanti

Head of Planning: Nilakshi Medhi

Senior Account Director: Margie Bangun

Planning Manager: Sakshi Sharma

Senior Art Director: Levina Christy

Art Director: Septian Listyanto

Senior Copywriter: Ayu Meutia

Junior AE: Cherisha Dewi

Graphic Designer: Sarah Aghnia

Graphic Designer: Bella Ferina

Senior Project Manager: Yuliani Sherlyta

Senior Producer: Anti Istianti

Song & music video:

Composer, Songwriter & Talent: Ica Zahra
Arranger: Tyas Pratama
Original lyrics: Leo Burnett Indonesia
Japanese lyrics: Ica Zahra, Kaito Mori
Mixing & mastering: Stevano
Recording: 1207 Studio Tokyo, Japan
Music video Director: Tomomi
Cameraman: Chiori Morioka
Production: Mao Tsukamoto

 

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