Entertainment News

Why Was Taco Bell Forced to Pull a Cardcaptor Sakura Promotion?


Though anime has become mainstream entertainment for Americans, the one area where the product is still rarely spotted in is fast food promotions. While fast food anime promotions are quite common in Japan, in America many fast food companies (probably because they tend to not underst& the properties they are licensing) still pass on anime as a promotional item. This is especially true with kids meals, as most hit anime never have a kids meal promotion unless they are Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, & (at least once) Yu-Gi-Oh!


That is why it was noteworthy when several years ago Taco Bell had a Cardcaptor Sakura promotion for their kids meals. While the idea behind the promotion was to grab the attention of kids & parents with a toy from a potential new hit show, the promotion garnered media attention for all the reasons Taco Bell DIDN’T want! This is the story on how a seemingly innocent kids meal promotion turned into a full-blown controversy for the fast food giant.

taco bell promo food photo

While the Fast Food Wars is a battle that has been raging for many years, in the late 90s Taco Bell decided they wanted to exp& their marketplace by taking on McDonald’s & Burger King in the battle for the important kid’s meal market. While McDonald’s has always been the undisputed champ of kids meals with their famous Happy Meal, during the late 80s & throughout the 90s Burger King decided they wanted a piece of that Happy Meal pie. Their Burger King Kids Club ended up being a massive success for the company & gave McDonald’s some legitimate competition in this area.

RELATED: Women in Manga: The History of CLAMP

Taco Bell decided they wanted some of that kids meal money too. Since the two burger chains didn’t have tacos or burritos, Taco Bell felt confident that their kids meals could st& out from the crowd, & threw themselves in the ring with kids meal promotions for hit franchises like Star Wars & Batman. In the mid-2000s Taco Bells kids meals hadn’t made the progress the company hoped they would, but they were profitable enough to keep throwing money into it.

When the company saw the success of the Pokemon & Dragon Ball Z promotions at Burger King, they decided they wanted an anime promotion for themselves. They picked the upcoming Kids WB series Cardcaptors as their first anime promotion, & they would regret the promotion almost immediately.

Cardcaptors (Cardcaptor Sakura) Taco Bell Promotion

Cardcaptors was a (heavily edited) adaptation of CLAMP’s Cardcaptor Sakura that aired on Kids WB in the mid-2000s. The series followed a young girl named Sakura & her friend Li, whose goal it was to capture powerful creatures & reseal them into Clow Cards. With a premise that sounded a little like Pokemon on the surface, it wasn’t too surprising that Kids WB wanted to air the series on their channel as a supplement to their monster (no pun intended) series. It’s also not too surprising that Taco Bell would go after this series for a kids meal promotion. It was new, inexpensive, & had the potential to be a Huge hit.

As they watched the show they produced toys that included Li’s Clow Board, Clow Cards in inside Clow Reed’s book, Madison’s video camera, & a figurine of Li (ironically, protagonist Sakura did NOT receive a toy of her own)! These were mostly items that the kids would use to capture the Clow Cards on the show, & if you watched the series these toys wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. For the uninformed parent though, some of the toys bore an uncanny resemblance to ouija boards & tarot cards. It wasn’t long before concerned parents started a campaign against the promotion, accusing Taco Bell of selling witchcraft to their kids.

Taco Bell was taken aback by the accusations as neither the promotion or the series itself had anything to do with witchcraft of any kind. Nevertheless, the potential br& damage the campaign could do to Taco Bell as a family restaurant was not worth messing with, & Taco Bell pulled the toys a couple of weeks into the run & issued a formal apology. Despite this, many locations secretly gave away the toys until inventory ran out (rather than destroy them) while other restaurants simply threw them away. Taco Bell didn’t lose much on the promotion, but it was one of the deciding factors in the company getting out of the kids meals wars & only offer toys that were generic & not based on any known properties.

Cardcaptors (Cardcaptor Sakura) Carl's Jr. Promotion

While the Taco Bell promotion failed miserably, it would not be the only Cardcaptors kids meal promotion. A year later Carl’s Jr. would license the franchise for their own kids meals. Carl’s Jr. kids meals were not competitive with McDonald’s or Burger King, but they had enough clout to acquirement franchise rights for kids meals toys on properties that were known (but not extremely expensive). By this point in time Cardcaptors had fallen into that category, & Carl’s Jr. made a promotion that involved four toys based on the show.

Unlike Taco Bell, Carl’s Jr. based their toys off of characters like Kero & Sakura herself, & ignored the cards & card finding objects altogether. It’s questionable if anyone would even remember the Taco Bell promotion had it not been for the controversy, but it is an interesting footnote in anime history to know that Cardcaptors, while never being a huge success on Kids WB, was nevertheless popular enough to attract the attention of two major fast food companies. That’s more than what Digimon got.

MORE: The Burger King Anime Promotion That Failed Completely


Source link gamerant.com
#Taco #Bell #Forced #Pull #Cardcaptor #Sakura #Promotion

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Plz deactivate the ad blocker and contribute to us.