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.