The makers of Cup Noodles are betting that somewhere out there is a person who wants a 10-kilo pillow and instant noodles.
In Japan, it’s common for marketers to give away prizes as part of campaigns to drum up food and beverage sales. It’s sort of like the concept of putting free toys in boxes of children’s cereal, except for adults.
Sometimes, these prizes are things to be used with the product being promoted, like when beer companies give away drinking glasses or foam-producing pouring gadgets. Other times, the logic is a little…hazier, as in the case of Cup Noodle maker Nissen’s latest giveaway.
Currently, there are two spokespeople for Cup Noodle Light Plus, Nissen’s healthier, lower-calorie line of instant ramen. One is Japanese/American model Aya Marsh, and the other is comedian Naomi Watanabe.
The last time we saw Watanabe, she was dancing around with a proton pack strapped to her back as part of a video celebrating the release of the new Ghostbusters movie in Japan. As part of her new gig, she’s not only appearing in Cup Noodle Light Plus ads, she’s also been turned into a huggy pillow to be given away to the winner of a currently ongoing contest. Actually, “huggy pillow” is how Nissen describes the prize, but honestly we’re not sure if something this size can still qualify as a pillow.
The Naomi Watanabe Huggy Pillow stands 190 centimeters (74.8 inches) tall and measures 153 centimeters across at its widest point. It’s also 81 centimeters thick and weighs 10 kilograms (22 pounds), which makes it more in line with the mass of a dumbbell than a cushion to lay your head on as you sleep.
Nevertheless, Nissen is sticking with the “pillow” terminology, though it hasn’t actually released any pictures of someone using it like one. Instead, the promotional stills show Marsh laying the stuffed Watanabe across her knees, or kneeling in front of it in either sweet playfulness or fearful awe.
Even though this is all being done in the name of endorsing Cup Noodle Light Plus, you don’t actually need to buy the noodles to win the pillow. All you have to do is apply here through Nissen’s website between now and the end of September. So if you’ve ever thought, “You know what? My home really could use a gigantic, huggable caricature of a Japanese media personality!” here’s your chance. And if you’re not chosen, don’t worry. It’s probably only a matter of time until Nissen comes up with yet another odd marketing idea for Cup Noodle Light Plus.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s still trying to figure out why there are so many air conditioning units in the room where Nissen took these photos.
[ Read in Japanese ]