Fast Company

The McHummer of a Summer

McDonald’s finds itself under fire once again for what many are saying is an unhealthy selection of a different kind.

This week Ronald and his friends began the "Hummer of a Summer" promotion, offering hungry kiddies all over the nation the opportunity to collect eight different Hummers with their choice of Happy Meal.

This blatant promotion of the gas-guzzling behemoths that have come to symbolize American decadence has angered parents and environmentalists alike. One organization, the Environmental Working Group, has even gone so far as to launch a parody site, www.RonaldMcHummer.com, which allows users to design their own McDonald’s Marquee with the site’s "Sign-O-Matic" feature. Users have enjoyed posting insulting and hilarious "advertisements" such as, "No, in fact we don't care about the planet, just give us your money." And, "Supersize your ecological footprint today!"

As if this wasn't enough, consumers have been further angered by comments made on McDonald’s Corporate Responsibility blog, "Open for Discussion." In response to heated comments from angry parents and environmentalists, McDonald’s Vice President, Bob Langert, posted a response yesterday. Surprisingly, he admits that the Hummer promotion is not "a reflection of [McDonald’s] commitment to strategies that will conserve non-renewable resources and reduce the environmental footprint of our restaurant business."

However, he maintains that the toy Hummers will have little or no advertising influence on the millions of children who find them sitting atop their McNuggets. He posted, "Looked at through children's eyes, the miniature Hummers are just toys, not vehicle recommendations or a source of consumer messages about natural resource conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, etc."

This argument holds even less water given that television and radio ads -- heavy advertising -- for the toy also began this week, featuring a family riding in a Hummer on the way to McDonald’s.

Even though McDonald’s has made effort in recent years to appear healthier and more environmentally conscious, it appears it's going to take a long time before the American public trusts everything they find under the golden arches.

What do you think? Has McDonald's gone too far with the Summer Hummer promotion?


Additional Reading:
McDonald’s responds to Hummer protest (enviroblog)
More people unhappy with Hummer... (Emergence Marketing)

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3 Comments

  • Richard

    Get over it. It's a freakin' toy. If folks are worried this much about what's going in a Mickey D's Happy Meal they need to get out and do something like volunteer to plant trees in their hometown or work with kids in a mentoring program. Look, for folks who care raising hell won't make any difference because the folks that don't care just flat don't. Let this one rest.

  • Al

    McDonalds seems back to it's old tricks methinks...sure, giving Hummers to kids has no effect...so why hummers, why not toy guns? Let McDs clarify the situation: Has GM paid McDs to give these Hummers away? If so why? What is in it for GM? Pester Power? Do McDs allow any giveaways or only those that match their policies?

    Good point Laura...I suspect they will do much to shift those behemoths in the next few months...

    Namaste

    Al

  • Laura

    Surely GM had a hand in this (or is this obvious and I missed it?).

    GM must be sitting on a Hummer inventory problem these days with gas prices the way they are - not a big leap to see them teaming up with McD's to try to promote that it's okay to indulge in a fast food meal from the comfort of your insanely sized vehicle. Or am I reaching?