When I was growing up, I wasn’t your atypical child in that I hated
going to Disneyland or Universal Studios, and that was largely down to the terrifying life-size costumes. Snow White or Cinderella weren’t so bad, but staring into the hollow, soulless eyes of a six-foot-tall Goofy is enough nightmare fuel to last most people a lifetime.
Although Disneyland is the most famous for it’s enlarged characters, the best place for bizarre and unsettling costumes is without doubt the world of mascots, and none more so than this special guy out in Japan. Although mascots are designed to invoke brand loyalty (and probably not through fear), Twitter users around the world aren’t exactly sure what to make of this particular costume, nor are they particularly willing to guess what it’s meant to represent.
Although America has its fair share of baffling mascots, the place to be for insane costumes of product placement is Japan, where mascots have been used to sell just about anything, from bullet trains to baseball.
On the whole, they’re quite cute, but sometimes the very products they’re promoting are far from endearing.
Take, for example, this adorable pink penguin. Look at its little face! Unfortunately, it’s not quite clear what this mascot is selling, but with its strange, questionably-shaped head, I’m not sure I want to know. On Twitter, some people were similarly afraid to ask the question.
Needless to say, this pink penguin with the slightly phallic head unsettled a great number of people online, and although ominous mascots can turn out to be quite innocuous, once you find out exactly what it is, you’ll only be more unsettled.
For those of you who don’t know, an enema is a little instrument you use to shoot fluids up your rectum, for a lovely list of reasons like permitting X-Ray imaging, introducing drugs, or just for flushing out the contents of your large intestine, leaving your digestive pathway as clean as a whistle.
His name is Kan-Chan, and he’s the newest marketing ploy for Ichijiku Pharmaceuticals, who produce the enemas out in Japan. According to marketing material, Kan-Chan has “plans to go many different places”. In that above tweet, he’s simply taking a trip about town, presumably enjoying the daylight before he is unceremoniously shoved into a place where the sun don’t shine.
As you might expect, Twitter was more than a little disturbed…
At first thought, it’s horrifying to think of such a cute mascot being used to promote something used for decidedly not-cute purposes, but even enemas need promotion, and I would much rather have something cute to market the pharmaceutical product than something more clinical or scientifically accurate.
Japan has its fair share of mascots to promote products and places around the country, but for me, this is by far the weirdest. Still, the purpose of such a mascot is to get people talking about the product, and in this case, I guess Kan-Chan the Enema Penguin does his job very, very well.