Nissin Uses Rose of Versailles Characters to Dramatize East-West Clash
posted on by Eric Stimson
East and West Japan have several well-known (domestically) differences: social attitudes, accents, fashion sense... and food. The food company Nissin conducted a marketing survey and found that areas west of Sekigahara (in Gifu Prefecture) preferred soup with a lighter, kelp-based broth, while easterners preferred a heavier broth that emphasizes soy sauce and bonito flakes. Also, West Japan favored curry with a flavorful base of kelp and bonito flakes while East Japan ate curry with a richer, spicier base. It used these findings to differentiate its instant food brand Don Hyōe when it launched in 1976: the exact flavor varied depending on the region it was sold in. (Hokkaido, meanwhile, has its own variation, "Northern Don Hyōe.") Nissin is now highlighting this divide with an unusual manga collaboration: The Rose of Versailles, a manga not even set in Japan at all.
In these new Don Hyōe packages, Oscar and Marie Antoinette seem absolutely shocked at the regional differences. "It's not just the stock; there are other differences too...!" they say. Depending on the package, they point out that the spices, shichimi (a peppery spice mixture) and deep-fried tofu also vary. Don Hyōe comes in meat stock curry, tenpura soba, and kitsune udon varieties (right to left below). Marie graces the eastern packages, with Oscar on the western ones.
The Rose of Versailles branding will be available nationwide on May 1. As the manga is celebrating its 45th anniversary, this is just one of several recent promotions: it's also gotten Valentine's Day chocolates, banners at sumō matches and a rose garden — as well as an extra episode in Margaret magazine. As for Nissin, it's been using Final Fantasy XV recently to sell its famous Cup Noodles.
Source: Nissin Group