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KFC’s Psyduck has become the hottest toy this Children’s Festival

“Gotta catch ‘em all” is how the Pokemon theme song puts it. That seems an appropriate message for KFC’s Pokemon-themed Children’s Festival meal boxes, which have taken the Chinese public by storm. Each contains either a music box featuring Pikachu [the most famous Pokemon], a Pikachu travel bottle, or, in the rarest cases, a Psyduck music box.

There’s only a 15% chance of a Psyduck music box appearing in a meal choice and as such it is highly sought after, with the Chinese internet dubbing it ‘yi ya nan qiu’ – a hard duck to find. Prices in the second hand market have gone beyond $200 (by contrast the KFC meal set it comes with costs just Rmb69, or a bit over $10).

Coverage on Chinese News Service (CNS) shows one of KFC’s staff presenting eight boxes from which customers can select just one, adding: ‘If you buy all eight, you’re almost certain to get a Psyduck.’

The KFC worker told CNS that no one had purchased all eight boxes at once, but some had bought four for a better chance to get their hands on the coveted Psyduck.

Netizens have been cooing over the toy online. “KFC is such a big company, please just make more Psyducks! I want it so much,” begged one Sina Weibo user. “This music has magic in it,” wrote another under a video of the Pokemon duck dancing to a catchy tune. “It makes you smile when you hear it.”

Despite Psyduck’s launch as part of the Children’s Festival meal set, it has been just as popular among younger adults.  “I just want to know how many children will actually get their hands on it,” one netizen joked.

Others have been less impressed. “First Bing Dwen Dwen, now KFC’s Psyduck… People are so easily led by the nose,” lamented another Weibo user, bemused by all the fuss.

And yet the hype has even spread to the online community overseas. “I need one so much… Because of my chronic headaches, I connect to Psyduck on a spiritual level,” claimed one Reddit user, referencing the Pokemon’s energy bursts.

Admiration for the battery-powered dancing Psyduck device didn’t stop there. “Things I need to live: food, water, oxygen, Chinese KFC dancing Psyduck,” laughed another Reddit user.

Indeed there were manifold variations on comments like “Take my money,” or “Someone send me one”, highlighting how Psyduck has won hearts around the world.

“I don’t think American KFC understands what they’re missing out on,” another Reddit contributor claimed.

Earlier this year, a similar launch of meal sets at KFC with ‘Dimoo’ Pop Mart toys created such a frenzy from the Chinese public that the China Consumer Association (CCA) reprimanded KFC for encouraging food waste. Netizens and journalists have referenced the earlier offence, questioning whether KFC’s latest actions show disregard for the previous warnings in January.

“As a large company, KFC cannot continue to conduct rule-breaking hype,” says China Food Production analyst Zhu Danpeng. “Their previous warning should have induced them to make adjustments, but in reality they did not accept the CCA’s feedback and they have continued to knowingly commit offences. By reducing the probability of acquiring [the Psyduck], they have induced people to buy more meals in attempts to better their odds. This is a form of induced consumerism, which I believe to be improper. KFC should be more aware of their social responsibility and advise consumers towards rational consumerism.”

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