To the surprise of KFC China marketers, the breakout star from their line of Pokémon toys was not series mascot Pikachu, but rather the dopey-looking and perpetually migraine-stricken Psyduck.
In celebration of Children’s Day on June 1, the fast-food chain introduced a set of three Pokémon toys, two of Pikachu and one of Psyduck, to be paired with its kids’ meals in China. The Psyduck toy, which dances along to a catchy tune, has become the center of the country’s latest social media craze. The Psyduck hashtag, #可达鸭, has climbed to over 135 million views. The sold-out toy is reselling for up to $200.
The #Psyduck frenzy, one of the most successful marketing strategies this year, has even caught #KFC by surprise. A KFC source tells me they had expected #Pikachu to be the star and regretted not ordering more Psyducks. But they are glad that Psyducks are bringing joy to people. https://t.co/EyG9xD3QH8
— Yang Liu (@yangliuxh) May 28, 2022
The figure, which is larger than typical kids’ meal toy offerings, has sparked a trend where social media users post videos of the dancing Psyduck with written messages attached to its arms. Such sentiments range from not wanting to work to frustrations over the country’s COVID-19 policies.
Even public figures like He Xiaopeng, founder of XPeng Motors, have taken to social media with Psyduck videos of their own. He’s video expressed his global chip shortage headaches with Psyduck waving a message reading “urgently seeking semiconductor chips.”
For Chinese netizens, KFC’s dancing Psyduck is not only a toy, but a means to express themselves.
“I’ve been locked in my place for two months,” tech worker Jun Peng told Reuters, “I am so stressed that I feel as silly as the duck. However even the duck can speak out.”
Feature image via Spotlight on China