For the burger joint’s latest campaign in Japan, it’s going for flavours from France, India, and… Australia. But while Aussies stuff down the McOz and Serious Lamb Burgers, in Japan, the Aussie Deli sandwich looks like this. Unwrapping the sandwich reveals a bun, lettuce, bright orange cheese, and pastrami. There’s some sort of vegetable relish and mustard. And seriously, what is going on with this TV commercial?
If McDonald’s Japan had used roast beef, it would have nailed this sandwich. Yes, of course, Australia has pastrami, but roast beef is much more of a sandwich staple. But in Japan, roast beef is pricey, and knowing that, pastrami just feels like a cheap substitute.
The commercials promoting the Aussie Deli talk about how “wild” it is. This isn’t just trying to capitalize on Australia’s rugged stereotype, but also on the notion of “wild” (ワイルド) in Japan. More recently, a popular comedian named Sugi-chan has made a career by showing how wild he is.
Have you ever had a so-so pastrami sandwich? Not great, not awful, just regular old supermarket pastrami on bread. Well, that’s what the Aussie Deli tastes like. It’s not exactly a snack sensation. You bite into the sandwich, and it’s the standard one-two-three punch of pastrami, cheese, and bread. The relish, well, I don’t quite remember the relish. That’s never a good sign. Though, the mustard did give the sandwich some much-needed tang, though the cheese version mutes that somewhat. The Aussie Deli does come in two platforms: with cheese and without. If I were to have another go at the Aussie Deli, I’d circle back around with the non-cheese platform.
While being an embedded snack emissary in Asia has opened up a realm of tasty treats, it has left a large void in a basic food group: the sandwich group. Japan is especially bad at sandwiches. The country does bread very, very well. Likewise, Japanese burgers can be triumphant. Sandwiches, however? They can get downright shocking, causing one to suffer from lack of proper sandwich nourishment.
So keeping this culture construct (snackstruct, rather) in mind, the Aussie Deli, as average and pedestrian as it truly is, actually comes up a winner. In Japan, for the sandwich starved, who don’t care about what a real Australian sandwich or hamburger looks like, here’s a passable pastrami sandwich that should’ve been called “McGood Enough.” Now that would’ve been wild.