Most Satisfying 'Expectations Vs. Reality' Examples To Prove That In Japan, You Get What You Pay For

Your expectations can drastically affect how you feel about something. We’ve probably all felt (over)hyped about buying or experiencing something before, only to be let down because the reality just isn’t as flashy as what we imagined. On the flip side, it feels incredibly nice to have your expectations met 100%. 

The country that keeps delivering quality, user-friendly design is [drumroll] Japan. And we absolutely love it. So much so that we’ve collected some of the most accurate product packaging pics and food ads from the popular r/ExpectationVsReality subreddit to share with you, dear Pandas. This. Is. What. All. Ads. Should. Be. Like!

Personal finance expert Sam Dogen, the author of Buy This, Not That: How to Spend Your Way to Wealth and Freedom and the founder of Financial Samurai, answered a few of our questions about consumer expectations, the problem with (too much) hype, and what product creators can do to ensure more return customers. Read on for the expert's insights about communication and trust.

#1 Freshness Burger Japan

#2 Japanese Ramen Is On Point!
#3 Denny’s In Tokyo, Japan. It Was Great!
#4 Almost Exactly The Same
#5 Ice Cream In Japan
#6 I’m Not The First To Notice This, But Dang Are The Menus Accurate Here

We were interested in what product creators and service providers can do to help manage all of these expectations, so as to have more returning customers. Sam, from Financial Samurai, explained that proper communication is vital to building trust.

"Product creators can manage consumers' expectations by clearly communicating to consumers future product upgrades and features in the works. It's the whole idea of, 'If you like this product, you'll love the next version!'" he told.

"Once a company or creator delivers on expectations, then trust is built with the consumer," the author of Buy This, Not That said.

"Once you have the consumer's trust, then you should have long-term customers who will help spread the word and create more repeat customers."

#7 The Exact Same Size

#8 Packaging Checks Out
#9 At Denny's In Japan, Wysiwyg
Having your expectations upended by what you find and buy at your local supermarket isn’t going to be earth-shattering. However, it still stings. Nobody enjoys being lied to, after all.

And ‘imaginative’ product packaging, aka false advertising, really is lying to the customer. Whether it’s offering them a bag of chips/crisps (depending on your location) that’s two-thirds full of air, or showing a fabulously photogenic photo of a tasty treat on the package that is nowhere close to the gunk you can see inside.

It’s an awful feeling to ask for a cheeseburger that looks pristine on the menu and have the server bring out a sloppy slider. It’s also what you feel when you book a gorgeous Airbnb listing only to turn the key, open the door, and find out that the photos were edited or made use of some truly creative angles to make the place seem better.

In short, we all deserve better. You know this. We know this. And we suspect that many companies know this, deep down (but profit comes first for many of them).

#10 Ice Cream In Japan
#11 Mos Burger Japan Know What's Up
#12 Those Japanese Food Samples (Left) Couldn't Meet My Expectations (Right) More Than This!
Odds are that after being the victim of false advertising and having your expectations dashed, you won’t be buying that same product again. Unless you don’t actually care about, say, the aesthetics of a particular snack; who knows, those cute panda-shaped cookies might’ve actually been delicious even if they were nowhere near picture-perfect.

However, it’s likely that no company will ever change its approach to packaging and ads unless consumers vote with their wallets and this then impacts the bottom line.

Japan has some very consumer-friendly advertising laws in place to protect everyone from shady practices.

For example, something that you have to be aware of is how you use words in your ads and on your product packaging. It’s vital that you’re not misleading anyone by creating facts from thin air.

#13 Only In Japan
#14 Pleasantly Surprised
#15 From My Trip To Japan Exactly One Year Ago, The Only Place I've Visited Where Reality Exceeded Expectations
Using hyperbole and exaggerations for the sake of impact is a big no-no. Something that you want to avoid is using claims that you can’t back up. For instance, if you can’t prove that your product is “the best” or “the tastiest” or whatever else, don’t claim it. That goes double for any medical products. Focus on facts, not daydreams.

#16 In Japan, One Should Expect To Get What One Expects
#17 American Cherry Pie Frapuccino In Japan
#18 Panda Wafer Looked Good And Tasted Great
#19 Just As Advertised
#20 In Japan When Expectations And Reality Are Same


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