Apple iPhone

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9 March 2016

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Japan to Apple iPhone “No Thanks” and Would Mickey Mouse Eat Shark Fin Soup these two case studies shows what happens when consumer behavior and marketing mix in globalization goes very wrong. These two studies reveal how marketer think they are giving a wonderful product and service in the case of Apple’s the iPhone and Disney the Shark’s Fin Soup. Understanding the consumer’s behavior and the customs and values of the culture impacted these two campaigns. Apologies good media press and changes in the strategy to get the approval of the consumers. Both case studies points out the impact of technology and how it at first affected the campaigns for bad with negative that changed the reputation of both companys.

Apple’s dilemma was very embarrassing for the company with negative reports and predictions of how the iPhone was going to sell in Japan. The propaganda was already put out to the media about the Japanese saying No Thanks to Apple concerning the iPhone 3. Apple thought that Japan would be ecstatic with the new product but supposedly the opposite occurred with reports of weak showing of the iPhone3. Of course with Apple being the cutting edge in technology and innovation in the western world Japan did not feel the same way about Apple’s iPhone3. First Japan was a hard market to try to get into the for Apple and their competition Nokia, and Motorola, whose attempts to grab Japanese customers were futile. So this was going to be a difficult campaign for Apple. At the time Japan was hostile toward western brand including Nokia and Motorola which I thought were Japanese brands. What’s wrong with the iPhone, from a Japanese perspective? The high monthly data plans that go with it, its lack of features, the low-quality camera, the unfashionable design and the fact that it’s not Japanese. Besides cultural opposition, Japanese citizens possess high standards when it comes to cell phones.

The country is famous for being ahead of its time when it comes to technology. Japanese consumer rather would use their own brand even if the feature is not used frequently. For example, Japanese handset users are extremely into video and photos .The iPhone had neither a video camera nor multimedia text messaging. A highlight feature enjoy on their handset is a TV tuner. Many consumers also used their cell phone as their only computer device and also as a TV. The monthly rates was considered to expense and many consumers did not want to pay the monthy bill. Apple had to make decision because the consumer’s behavior was very different in Japan. The Japanese in the time of No Thanks were more communal than individualistic which a new trend with the younger generation is. They were not considered conspicuous consumption they way it is in western countries. The Japanese way of consumer behaving was inherited from Edo Period of history (each class had it own code) Brand shopping revealed two things about the Japanese consumer social status and quality of product. Japanese consumers are known for being demanding with products. The Japanese consumer shopped mostly in department stores but now this is changing with malls. The Japanese consumer is a cautious spender and that is why the monthly charge for service was problem for Apple. They are also very environmental aware and health conscious.

Apple did not understand that Japan demographic of aging is very large with life expectancy being vey long. So Japan has a big 60 plus consumers demographic that live by the old tradition, values and customs. These consumer behaviors were very different from the western marketer Apple did not take these in to consideration when the iPhone came out. The marketer had to start at zero level and make huge marketing decision for the Japanese market. Quality of the iPhone its features had to be reintroducing to the consumers to the cell phone market in Japan. Many iphones were given away so as to help the consumer get comfortable with the iphone a great strategy. The monthly pricing had to be adjusted but they really had to do with the value of the Yen. The Bloomberg report today notes that the iPhone has captured 72 percent of the Japanese market. High price, lack of a video camera and support for multimedia messaging, all three of those shortcomings have been addressed. “Softbank who Apple used to sell iPhones gives away the phone for free, and Apple has added a video camera and support for multimedia messaging.

The Bloomberg report further suggests that those moves were just what the iPhone needed to gain a foothold in Japan, which we also acknowledged in a report published August 2009.”(Tewney ,2008) Would Mickey Mouse Eat Shark’s Fin Soup? Became fiasco for Disney with reports that Disney wool start serving Shark Fin Soup to their customers in Disney Hong Kong. In a feature dated May 18, the Hong Kong Standard reports that shark fin soup, along with roast suckling pig and sliced abalone, will be included in wedding banquets Disney is promoting at the two hotels at the Hong Kong Disneyland resort. Shark’s fin soup is a traditional Chinese delicacy popular at weddings and other important social events. Eating shark’s fin soup carries cultural significance and is seen as luxurious and a display of affluence and generosity. However the process by which sharks are caught and killed to provide the ingredients has long been criticized for the way in which fins are harvested. A 2004 survey by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that out of 262 shark species around the world, 56 were endangered.

The Hong Kong Standard publishes a follow up to the story on May 23 and reports that Disney’s plans to serve shark’s fin soup have outraged local environmentalists. Under the environmentally umbrella Disney has integrated conservation efforts into its daily operations. The company says its employees around the world proactively support environmental initiatives through all aspects of its business and states that it is “committed to balancing environmental stewardship with our corporate goals throughout the world.” Disney lesson was tradition and customs no longer overruled environmental issues because affluent consumer wants a certain food or clothes. The voice of green and environmental safety out powered and was louder than the money of the wealth who wanted the Shark Fin Soup. With the new rising environmentalist animal cruelty advocate this was not going to be easy for the affluent consumer to win. Disney was going to have to make a decision not to serve the soup at all and it did. Globalization, can intentionally or otherwise remove social and cultural differences, which can often have a bearing on consumer behavior and in turn, lead to brands developing a more consistent global identity, one which doesn’t have to worry about the backlash of possible misinterpretation in other parts of the world.

This isn’t to say that marketers believe cultural issues are no longer important. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The more information a brand holds about the world and its contrasting consumers the more chance it has of understanding and manipulating them. The interlocking of economic spheres is another aspect, which has affected consumer behavior for very different reasons all together. The European Union and the combine currency of Euro connecting different countries with the same currencies make for a huge consumer behavior being established. This was also the problem with Apple’s because Japan does not have the same cultural values as the western hemisphere which was a learning campaign for Apple’s globalization.

The arrival of the Internet and advances in technology have succeeded in breaking down social and cultural barriers, but have not succeeded in stopping the masses from being continually guided by those who are learning more and more about them and the way they behave.

In conclusion these two global business dilemma help to open the way for a precise understanding of different culture that helps with evolving of globalization to include all cultures and to give the best culturally socially, environment decision while giving the best service and product.


Key Characteristic of The Japanese Consumer (2014) Retrieved from: CRS ASIA (2014) Retrieved from : Consumer Behavior (2014) Retrieved from: Why Japans Hate Apple (2014) Retrieved from . “Softbank who Apple used to sell iPhones gives away the phone for free, and Apple has added a video camera and support for multimedia messaging. The Bloomberg report further suggests that those moves were just what the iPhone needed to gain a foothold in Japan, which we also acknowledged in a report published August 2009.” Why Japans Hate Apple (2014) Retrieved from Would Mickey Mouse Eat Shark’s Fin Soup Retrieved from:

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"Apple iPhone" StudyScroll, 9 March 2016,

StudyScroll. (2016). Apple iPhone [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 4 June, 2023]

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"Apple iPhone" StudyScroll, Mar 9, 2016.

"Apple iPhone" StudyScroll, 9-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 4-Jun-2023]

StudyScroll. (2016). Apple iPhone. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 4-Jun-2023]

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