What would you do if you ran a company and, through an unfortunate turn of events, the reputation of your business was being adversely affected because it shares its name with another company that’s all over the local and international news for its own problems? You’d want to do a little damage control. Am I right? That’s the situation Japanese company, Fukushima Industries, is faced with.
The company’s problem is obvious. The Fukushima Industries I’m talking about manufacturers commercial freezers, showcase freezers and chillers. Not nuclear power plants that have been getting a lot of negative press for clean-up issues they’ve been experiencing since a 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami hit northeast Japan in 2011. That’s a different Fukushima.
Obviously, this is a problem for the other Fukushima. In business, a bad reputation is bad for sales. What sucks is when it’s someone else’s bad reputation that makes you suffer.
So,what do you do in a situation like that? Unfortunately, changing your name is expensive and you run the risk of people not recognizing your brand anymore. No. You need something simpler, something that lets everyone know, “Hey, we’re good guys. You can trust us.” Something like a new company mascot, for example. This is the route Fukushima Industries chose to go with. The mascot wasn’t a bad idea either. They came up with a cute little egg with wings. Then they had to give their new mascot a name. That where they… um… fucked up.
Fukuppy… Yes, that is the actual name they chose to go with. No, they aren’t kidding. See, pronounced in Japan, it sounds like “foo-koo-pii”, which is actually kind of cute. Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t speak with a Japanese accent it sounds… really, really funny.
The company also created a background for their new character which describes itself as a “boku”, which means Fukuppy is nither male nor female. Fukuppy goes on to say it was born in a Fukushima refrigerator and visits supermarket and kitchen refrigerators to make sure meat, fish and produce are are all happy and healthy… by talking to them. It doesn’t help that, when in its bio, Fukuppy admits that its friends think of it as “a bit of a klutz”, which we all know to be a… You get the idea.
Needless to say, this little fuc- mistake wasn’t lost on the internet and people wasted no time in giving the little guy a hard time for the unfortunate choice his creators made in naming him.
I’m willing to bet that someone in the company’s marketing department is feeling like a bit of a Fukuppy right now.