KFC’s free Pokemon Psyduck model sells for $195 in China
KFC has an unexpected blow on its hands in China, and it’s thanks to people’s anger over the government’s harsh and ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns.
As Reuters reports(Opens in a new window), on May 21, KFC began giving away Psyduck Pokemon models with meals as part of a promotion for Children’s Day on June 1. Two days later, all of the Psyduck models were gone and they started appearing on websites selling for up to 1,300 yuan (about $195) each. Why so much? It turns out that Psyduck gives a good representation of how people feel on social media about lockdowns.
Psyduck is a duck Pokémon in a constantly dizzy state due to his headache and always trying to calm himself down (and his headache). Now, Psyduck is being used in videos on local social media platforms to portray individuals’ sentiments on China’s zero-COVID policy.(Opens in a new window) and extremely severe lockdowns occurring in areas like Shanghai.
A video posted on the China Live YouTube channel(Opens in a new window) shows the Psyduck music box model that KFC was offering, which dances and has easy-to-attach stickers. This culminated in a very popular video being posted on Bilibili showing the Psyduck model holding two signs saying, “I don’t want to take the COVID test” and “I want to go out for fun”. On another social media site called Xiaohongshu, the Psyduck model was posted with stickers reading “health code” or “travel history code”.
It seems the desire to own and use a Psyduck model on social media is only increasing in China, with a tech named Jun Peng telling Reuters: “I was locked up in my house for two months. .. I’m so stressed that I feel as stupid as the duck. However, even the duck can talk. On top of that, many children also really want the model, but they compete with adults to get it a.
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China keeps strict control over the Internet and reacts quickly to information it views negatively. Chances are that Psyduck will be added to a blacklist very soon, which means that any post containing a photo, video or name reference will soon become unpostable for more than a few minutes before disappearing. Meanwhile, severe lockdowns have already wreaked havoc on supply chains and could continue to do so depending on where the next COVID cases appear in the country.
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