Oh McDonalds, you’re so out of touch. In the history of bad ideas in advertising, this is absolutely in the Top 5.
If you didn’t catch the ad on the Super Bowl, it goes a little something like this:
- Go into McDonalds
- Order food
- Ask how much you owe
- Get told to call someone/hug a stranger/do a dance/etc
- Try to pay with cash
- Have the checker insist that you pay with whatever they choose from the Wheel of Humiliation
- Try to pay with cash again, this time more venom
- Have the cashier tell you that you were randomly selected to pay with lovin’, so you have to pay with lovin’
- Do whatever monkey grinder trick they ask of you so you can get your crappy sandwich and get the hell out of McDonalds
Here’s the long format ad:
I can see how this went in the meeting:
EVP Marketing: We need something huge for our Super Bowl ad.
Minion #1: How about we give away something free to random people?
EVP: That’s good, but we need a hook. It’s been done before.
Minion #2: We need to find a way to get people talking. You know, like that “Share a Coke” campaign that everyone loved.
EVP: Great thinking. What can we do that will make people love our brand again?
Minion #1: I’ve got it! How about we randomly give food away to customers. When they try and pay, we tell them that it’s on the house.
EVP: Not good enough. It needs a hook!
Minion #2: I know! How about we tell them that they can only pay by “spreading the lovin”.
EVP: What are you driving at?
Minion #2: Ok, hear me out. Guy orders his food. He’s ready to pay and we tell him to call his mom instead and tell her that he loves her.
EVP: Now I’m Lovin’ It!!!
Minion #1: Um, what if we do this and the customer’s mother is no longer alive?
EVP: You’re overthinking it. This is a great idea!!
Minion #1: Ok, well what if the customer doesn’t want to participate. Can he just pay for his food?
EVP: What do I pay you for moron?!?! He HAS TO participate.
Minion #2: Yeah stupid! It doesn’t work unless everyone participates.
Minion #1: All I’m saying is that you’re likely to encounter customers who just want their Big Mac and would rather pay with cash than do a stunt.
EVP: Do you even KNOW our customers? Why are you even here? You have no idea what you’re talking about. This idea is gold! It’s gonna be bigger than that Coke campaign. Get with the program kid!
And that, my friends, is how a horrible idea goes from concept to reality. No one likes forced participation. No one likes to be treated like a trained seal for their food. Especially by the counter guy at a fucking fast food chain. And if you ask me to call up my dead mother, I’m gonna reach over the counter and punch you in the face.
For the record, yes, I do realize that writing this will cost me my dream of ever getting to be a marketing yes man for Mickey Dee’s. I can live with those consequences.