I’m sure the fact that I notice McDonald’s marketing everywhere I am is partly a product of my chosen career. However, just because I’m more consciously aware that I am being marketed to does not change the fact that we are, in fact, being bombarded by advertising. And McDonald’s is one of the biggest culprits.
Lately, I’ve been confronted with McDonald’s advertising everywhere I go. It’s on the billboards on my short drive to the metro station, it’s on the Metro on my subway ride to work, and now – it is even in my office. Or rather, on my computer and phone.
While listening to Pandora at work earlier this week, I encountered an advertisement for McDonald’s “Proud of Our Suppliers” marketing campaign focusing on the origins of their food. If you haven’t seen it, I’ve included it below. It isn’t new (see Grist’s article “McDonald’s rings in 2012 with farmwashing“), but it is the first time I’ve heard it because we don’t have cable and therefore have limited exposure to actual video advertisements. Never fear, though – McDonald’s has ways to reach you with their video advertisements even if you’re without cable.
The ad emphasizes family and family business. It also throws in some local food, farm-to-fork allure (“Most everything that we put into these cattle comes from either from this ranch or somewhere local“). Lastly, of course, it focuses on quality. Naturally, we all know McDonald’s is about quality. According to the farmer in the video, “They have a certain set of quality expectations that absolutely have to be met. You can’t get taste without good quality. There’s no way to cut corners on that.” Ironic, considering.
So there you have it folks. By eating at McDonald’s, you’re actually doing something pretty great for this country. You’re supporting this nice man, his children, and his grandchildren. McDonald’s is basically a locally-owned family business by extension. Never mind its predatory marketing or deceptive PR stunts. Forget about the fact that they regularly fight against laws that would improve the health of this nation and, ultimately, save lives. Or how it strategically distracts policy-makers, and the public, to ensure they continue to call the shots when it comes to children’s nutrition policy by making misleading promises. Really, McDonald’s is just your neighborhood restaurant serving locally-sourced, healthy, fresh food. Part of the solution, not part of the problem.
So here’s my marketing challenge for you: Tomorrow, pay attention throughout the day – can you make it throughout the day without seeing (or hearing) any McDonald’s marketing? Let me know if you succeed.
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