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Animated Kiki's Delivery Service Ads Promote McDonald's New Burgers in Japan

posted on by Ken Iikura-Gross & Joanna Cayanan
Aoi Yūki, Daisuke Sakaguchi voice Kiki, Jiji this time

With a movie as iconic as Studio Ghibli's Kiki's Delivery Service, it's sometime hard to remember it's based on an existing children's fantasy novel of the same name — so much so, that it's odd to see the novel's characters appear in commercials for something like Cup Noodles. And if we thought seeing the titular Kiki in a Cup Noodles ad was odd, we now need to wrap our heads around her appearing in a McDonald's ad campaign.

Image via www.youtube.com

McDonald's Japan slowly unveiled the Kiki's Delivery Service ad campaign beginning with a post on its X (formerly Twitter) account on June 17. In the post, the company included a photo of the novel by Eiko Kadono surrounded by McDonald's menu items. A follow-up post on the McDonald's X/Twitter account on the same day revealed an image of a new menu item:

I'm Kiki the witch.
And this
is McDonald's new product.

On the following day at 7:00 a.m., the account posted a short video featuring the obvious silhouette of Kiki and her cat Jiji. In the short video accompanying the post, a voice (we can assume is Jiji) asks Kiki what she's delivering, with Kiki responding it's a secret until tomorrow (June 19).

Do you know who it is?

However, not more than four hours later, the account revealed the first of three five-second videos featuring Kiki and Jiji in the new McDonald's ad campaign. In the first video we see Kiki making a delivery during the day, the second Kiki walking through a bazaar, and the third Kiki making a delivery in the evening.


McDonald's Japan finally confirmed the ad campaign featuring Kiki's Delivery Service in a press release on June 19. In the release, McDonald's stated the ad campaign featuring Kadono's characters would begin on June 25. The company went on to explain the commercials would showcase a story of Kiki (Aoi Yūki) and Jiji (Daisuke Sakaguchi) delivering the new Europe Burger menu items.

The press release also had comments by Yuki and Sakaguchi. In her comments Yuki noted (roughly translated), “I was directed to portray Kiki with a dangerous amount of vitality, so I worked to create a more energetic and emotional image for the role!” In turn Sakaguchi said (roughly translated), “I hope you will feel the fun from the fast-paced conversations with Kiki in the commercials where I played Jiji. I think it's a very cute commercial.”

In advance of the planned June 25 release of the Kiki's Delivery Service commercials, the McDonald's Japan YouTube channel released four versions of the commercials: a 30 second version and three 15 second versions featuring the German Potato Quarter Pounder burger, the Pepperoncino Juicy Chicken burger, and Bouillabaisse Style Shrimp burger.

With the Ghibli version so ingrained into the collective conscience of the anime fandom, it's hard to envision Kadono's characters being animated by a different company or voiced by different people. However, it has been done in the past with the live-action Kiki's Delivery Service movie and the 2017 Cup Noodles commercial. Now we have a new and fun take on the characters.

Sources: McDonald's Japan, McDonald's Japan's X/Twitter account (link 2, link 3, link 4, link 5, link 6), McDonald's Japan's YouTube channel (link 2, link 3, link 4), Esuteru

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