Friday, November 14, 2014

McDonald's wants you to know that their food rots.

In case you haven't been following this story, in 2004 the movie "Super Size Me." was released.  In it, our hero eats nothing but McDonald's for 30 days and not surprisingly, he becomes terribly ill.  The film also includes a demo of some french fries failing to decay after 8 weeks.  While the company has tried to debunk this experiment, my nephew tells me that he repeated it in his high school class and the darn things never rotted.  So there you have it.  (Kaufman, 2014)

Anyway, McDonald's has finally awoken to the fact that they have some severe issues in terms of their quality and nutritional perceptions and that perhaps they ought to try to address them.  I think it would be easier to do that if they actually did have high quality nutritional food.  But hope springs eternal.  (Forbes, 2014)

Still I can't quite see how talking about pink slime and showing videos of meat production lines is going to work for them.   Here is one of the commercials they have been running.  

It doesn't make me want to eat anything.  How about you?  Do you think that they are smart to try to tackle the issue head-on?  Can you think of any alternatives that might be more effective?

Kaufman, A. (2014, October 14).  Only McDonald's Would Advertise That Their Food Rots. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from

Forbes, T. (2014, November 5)  McDonald's Hams It Up In Three 'Viral' Videos.  Retrieved November 14, 2014, from


  1. I can’t imagine a much more unappetizing commercial campaign. If the question is “Does it make me want to buy?” The answer is an unequivocal NO! I am not McDonald’s target market. I generally avoid fast food but I can’t see how anyone would be lead to become a new customer after this campaign ( or even to remain a repeat customer). In the commercial clip on this post, the only message I get is that many folks do not trust McDonalds food. Yes, the ad is trying to tell me “ you have questions, we will answer them,” but what I remember is people’s distrust of McDonald’s ingredients. So I decided to go to their website and check out their series of videos created to combat this negative image they have garnered regarding the quality of their food. The “answers,” to the questions. I was not impressed.

    It seems as if they have created a spokesman for the people to film as he asks questions about the negative claims that have been have hurled at McDonalds ( questions about pink slime in the burgers…yuck!). The spokesman is then taken to various locations in the production line of McDonald’s food ( I saw a video of him at a burger processing facility) and shown that the claims are not true. Do I trust it? Not at all. Firstly I will say that the image of the big mac getting a squirt of “special sauce” that looked like cheese wiz did nothing to help my appetite, nor did the assembly line of frozen patties of beef make from beef trimmings. But even if it had…Why should I believe a video made by McDonalds? All I really retained from the campaign is that lots of people question their food. Not the message I think they were hoping to send. If you are a regular McDonalds customer, you probably aren’t too concerned with “whole food” and if you really are concerned…I don’t think these videos are going to convince you that the company serves high quality food. To my mind they are going about this all wrong.

    Play to your strengths McDonalds! These videos only highlight that that they have no intentions of actually making better food, only proving that McDonalds food might not be as horribly bad as people say. Images of fresh veggies, happy cows, this might have helped ( I seem to remember a campaign they ran that showed real food ingredients associated with their restaurants. I didn’t trust it, but it was far more appealing than this). If I were on their marketing team I would focus on the fact that their food tastes good, is cheap, and fast. That is what has sold McDonalds food for years. Convenience! Most people know its not good for you. But its delicious, easy to find, and quick. McDonalds shouldn’t tackle the health thing unless they are actually willing to do a major overhaul of their product. Yes “Super Size Me” was a big blow to their brand, but the people who watched that film are likely not their regular customers anyway. Perhaps McDonalds needed to do a bit of a PR intervention, but using this idea of letting folks ask tough questions and get them answered…to me it only raises more questions and does nothing to make me feel any better about McDonalds food.


  2. Fast Food like McDonald's are very hard to be any healthier. Most of the items are fried, ok... you could bake the fries, the burgers, but at what cost? They still not healthy enough to be living on them (as the Super Size Me movie showed).

    Buns could be made from wholesome ingredients, but will the average McDonald's customer like the change in taste and texture?

    Fast Food items are like 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 products, like hair care (shampoo and conditioner), they are not good for everyday consumption. Some products you can aggregate a few benefits, others not so much.

    What I experience worldwide in big fast food chains like McDonald's and Burger King is that they try to adapt and incorporate regional values to better serve their customers: I had the best grilled spicy chicken sandwich in my life in Jordan! In Brazil, if you are not a big fan of fast foods like burgers and fries, you could ask for the Executive Menu at the cashier. And then order rice-and-beans, salad and beef (fillet), also at reasonable price, but this executive menu is not marketed because it is not their core service.

    Should McDonald's do any changes, they need to do a very good research of what to do to capitalize and survive this new generation, as Baby Boomers are aging, getting more healthy conscious and are reaching their maturity.

  3. The commercial itself doesn’t answer any of the questions consumers are asking. So I wouldn’t eat because of this commercial, actually after watching it I started to think about all the questions they put over the table and I the effect that has on me is the contrary, I wouldn’t go to McDonalds to eat.

    However, if the approach is to start showing benefits of eating their food I might reconsider my position. In my particular case, I do sometimes eat their food but I know it is not nutritional; I only eat it when I’m on the run or it is very late to go somewhere else.

    I think that at this point everybody know that eating McDonalds is not healthy, so I wouldn’t try to position the brand as healthy. I would try to find other characteristics of why people although knowing it is not nutritional are still consuming and target them.

  4. In this commercial, McDonald’s is demonstrating that it is aware of consumer concerns and cares enough to ask about them. I think this is the first in a series of commercials by McDonalds and they will eventually come out with more commercials that will eventually answer these questions.

    I think, strategically it is a good move. By addressing the issues head on, McDonald’s is taking the proverbial bull by the horns and everyone respects that. But this strategy will only be successful if McDonalds follows up with real, genuine answers and a long-term investment in the health and well-being of its consumers.