It feels like the vacuum cleaner phenomenon.That's when you need to buy a new vacuum cleaner, open up the paper( if you still get a hard copy of the paper)and voila..there is a vacuum cleaner sale. Now what you learn in an advertising class is that vacuum cleaner sale ad has probably been there for months but until you need the vacuum cleaner you never saw the ad before.
That's how I feel about all the bizarre stuff I found about McDonalds this week. Some of it just happened last week, some a month ago..it was all new to me.
First, there's the contaminated MP3 player.
Under the category that you can't win for losing, McDonald's Japan has issued a recall of some 10,000 MP3 Players it gave away as part of a promotion. As reported in the Register
"Punters received the contaminated gift after purchasing a large drink form the fast-food chain in Japan and submitting a serial number contained on the beverage holder as part of a competition, sponsored by McDonalds and Coca-cola. Users who connected the McDonald's-branded MP3 player to their Windows PC were exposed to spyware code programmed to transmit their web passwords and other sensitive information to hackers. The cause of the accidental infection is unclear but past experience suggests a contaminated machine involved in loading content onto the players is the likely culprit."
Then there's the judge who reversed himself and said two teenage girls could sue McDonald's for making them fat because of misleading advertising. ABC's John Stossel is not amused about the case that is now entering its fourth year.
"Whatever happened to self-responsibility? Sure, McDonald's commercials put the best spin on its products. All advertisers do that. Individuals should exercise caution, and parents should teach their kids a little skepticism. It's not as if information about nutrition is hard to come by. Today we're constantly harangued about cutting calories, reducing fat, and exercising more. McDonald's competitors, such as Subway, provide lots of counter-information. You'd have to live in a cave not to know about this stuff.
Fast food doesn't have to make you fat. Soso Whaley of New Hampshire once ate only at McDonald's for a month. The result? Unlike the guy who did the "Super Size Me" documentary, Soso lost 10 pounds, and her cholesterol dropped 40 points. How? She didn't pig out. Low-carb dieters have lost weight at McDonald's by eating the burgers without the buns and skipping the fries."
Speaking of informing customers about nutrition, Customers in McDonald's Japan ( yes those same customers who got the infected MP3 players) can scan their food with a gadget that displays nutritional info on their cell phones.
Known as a QR Code, these printed codes look somewhat like a barcode and are scannable by many photo cellphones. All sorts of information can be packed into these little codes, from the website to find the amount of calories and fat in a Big Mac to a company’s contact information on a business card.
Meanwhile, despite all the turmoil, business has never been better.
After months or declining sales and despite a good deal of negative publicity, McDonald's announced that they hit a six year high in sales both in the US and abroad, with the best performances from stores in the UK. The company cites in increase in healthier menu items, including salads and less fattening kids' choices. At UK restaurants, the new options include deli sandwiches, free-range eggs, more fruit and beef that is only "from the forequarter or flank of a cow."
P.S. In case you missed this in May ( I did), McDonald's is also undergoing an extreme McMakeover which will include cozy couches, WiFi, plasma TVs and premium Coffee. Think of it as the Starbuckization of McDonald's.
"After 30 years without a major design overhaul, the 51-year-old fast-food giant is adopting a hip new look. The world's largest hamburger chain is redesigning its 30,000 eateries around the globe in a 21st century makeover of unprecedented scale.
The redesign is risky and has many franchisees up in arms over the high costs of a makeover. But company officials believe the overhaul is needed. McDonald's, whose restaurants are visited by more than 40 million people every day, has moved aggressively over the past three years to revamp its menu and attract a new breed of customer."
While customers may enjoy the change, the franchisees are less than enthused. It will cost them around $300,000 to make the change. This is not an optional change. The only way to stay part of the McDonald's family is to order that cozy couch.