Vegans Fuel McDonald's Identity CrisisFebruary 23, 2015
First of all, I acknowledge that I've sucked at keeping up my newsletter lately—but for good reason! I've been busting booty on a new project I'm hoping to announce very soon, so don't go away—stay tuned!
Speaking of delays, my topic today started with something I spotted last November 2014. I had come across a heartwarming article in Fortune magazine, "Can McDonald's Get Its Mojo Back?", about the once-dominant fast food chain's decline—today, McD's is losing its market share, losing sales, and suffering a corporate identity crisis. Warm and fuzzies!
Don't get it twisted, they're still serving the dregs of animal flesh to millions a a day. But the news represents a hairline fracture that could potentially crumble the empire. Anyway, that's the scene I imagine in my head.
The factor for McDonald's decline that I'm most interested in is the shift in market interests. The old "fast and convenient" selling point is losing appeal to a growing market (us, and the public we influence!) who are looking for "fresh and healthy." That's a major effing fundamental problem for them that I'm very excited about.
None of their campaign overhauls are working because no matter what McDonald's says in an ad, they can't overcome the fact that they sell garbage. McDonald's has become synonymous with "junk food," and associated with obesity, "pink slime," lawsuits, expired meat, and animal abuse, all while the mainstream food market is moving toward unprocessed "slow food," healthy kids, and Meatless Mondays.
What's a company to do?
When a public relations department can't distract the masses by throwing sand in their eyes, they often engage another tactic—embracing the negative and spinning it as a positive.
Last night, my confidence in: a) McDonald's decline and b) our vegan influence on the public, was confirmed when I saw this McDonald's commercial on TV:
WOW, a little butt-hurt, are we??? I think we've insulted them.
It reeks of the insecurity unique to a bully that doesn't get his way and suddenly senses a loss of power (or an angry world-destroying monster robot right before it dies). You can almost feel the McDonald's executives raging like mad kings behind the scenes, "Take that, you vegetarian f*cks!"
Except it feels really, really out of date, and even for McDonald's own sake, it's a bad ad. Who even says "deconstructed?!" Did they mean "unprocessed?" Of course, they couldn't say that. I think the ad is so icky that it will only further isolate people—moms, especially—who are trying to be healthier, trying to do better for their kids.
In any case, the ad sounds like a death knell more than a war chant. The people it will fire up are the dumbest of the dumb, who weren't going to stop eating fast food anyway, and vegans. And at this moment, it's our "campaign" that's winning.
Now, we just have to get people off Greek Yogurt and onto the coconut milk kind.
Keep on fighting. It's working.