There are a lot of things we worry about when eating hamburgers, mostly “how much mustard can I afford to drip on myself?” and “does this lettuce count as a vegetable serving?” Among the hamburger-related concerns that plague our lives, “can I eat this while still keeping my mouth dainty and pretty?” is not generally one of them. But for a large number of women in Japan, that’s apparently a real issue.
Freshness Burger, a popular Japanese chain, noticed that its biggest and best-tasting burger, the Classic Burger, was one of its most popular items with male customers, but women just weren’t ordering it at all. They decided this was most likely because women were hesitant to open their mouths wide enough to accommodate the giant burger. According to Dentsu East Japan, the ad company hired to solve the problem:
For Japanese women, having “ochobo”—small and modest—mouth, was regarded as cute and attractive. On the other hand, opening up mouth so large in public was regarded as rude and ugly. It is [considered] good manners to cover their mouth when they have to largely open up their mouth. This manner had stayed for [a] long time, even up to [the] present.
The best way to enjoy the big Classic Burger was to dig in with wide open mouth. Our female customers had a frustration of not being able to do it, following their natural desire.
So they created the bewilderingly named “liberation wrapper,” a giant paper burger holder with a smiling mouth printed on it that covers up the eater’s face when she’s chowing down on the burger.
“Now they can enjoy the big burger, freeing their inner animal instinct,” the company said.
The crazy thing is, it worked. Sales of the Classic Burger jumped 213 percent among Freshness Burger’s female customers.