Monday, September 21, 2015

McDonald's comes through with "something bigger" for #PeaceDay

"We love the intention, but think our two brands could do something bigger to make a difference."

That was the rather chilly response by McDonald's to Burger King's cheeky McWhopper proposal for Peace One Day.

But it turns out they actually meant it:

According to Burger Business, McDonald’s was the key impetus behind this global initiative to provide food assistance to refugees and other displaced people by the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) food-assistance wing.

McDonald’s funded this 30-second TV spot, by their agency TBWA. Liam Neeson is the VO.

The objective, according to McDonald's, is to "raise awareness of the refugee crisis; and encourage people to donate to the WFP to make a tangible difference.”

Other participants in the program are  McCain Foods, Cargill, DreamWorks Animation, Facebook, MasterCard, OMD, Twitter, United Airlines... and Burger King.

Hunger is a root cause of human conflict, because people will do anything to ensure that they and their families can survive. In turn, conflict causes food insecurity, as crops are destroyed, farmers are displaced, and field-to-fork infrastructure is disrupted.

On a 2014 visit to Turkey, Pope Francis summarized the idea that the "war on terrorism" starts with fighting poverty and hunger in at-risk regions:  "What is required is a concerted commitment on the part of all ... [to] enable resources to be directed, not to weaponry, but to the other noble battles worthy of man: the fight against hunger and sickness."

Monday, September 14, 2015

The right way to mock #KimDavis' ignorant bigotry

I know, I know. She's an easy target. She's been married four times, with at least one marriage ending because of her infidelity. She has old-fashioned hair. And her husband dresses like the Scarecrow from Wizard of Oz. (OK, I've been guilty of that one too!)

But if you really want to tell Kim Davis off for the hypocrisy of her so-called Biblical literalism, you need to knock off the personal attacks and take that literalism at face value.

That's how Planting Peace did it:


I'm not sure they got the parallel right, though. If they are referring to Exodus 21:7 (“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do") it's more about slavery or indentured servitude than what we would call marriage. However, a DailyKos writer describes the same verse as "selling your daughter as a slave to be given to her owner or owner's son for sexual exploitation as a 'wife,' so I could be wrong.

There are lots of horrible definitions of marriage in the Bible, but perhaps this one was chosen for the pure absurdity of it in the modern west. But as far as I know, there is no real consistency of how marriage is defined in the Bible. Parts were written when polygamy was still standard, and others exhort married couples to ensure "the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral."

Of course, all of this is moot because Kim Davis doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. But it's such a shame that people like her have become the face of American Christianity in the 21st century. I'm not a believer, but I still believe that Jesus the philosopher was all about love and acceptance.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Why McDonald's couldn't accept Burger King's peace offering #McWhopper

I wrote early yesterday about Burger King's brilliant PR coup for Peace One Day: A challenge to arch(es) rival McDonald's to build a combination of their two classic burgers as a symbol for peace.

The ploy worked, not just because it picked up endless press, but because the response from McDonald's was cold and patronizing.

But while the wording of the response was a PR failure, there are several reasons that McDonald's basically had to turn BK down.

1. When you're #1, you don't acknowledge competition

McDonald's has been faltering lately, but they still own the category of fast food burgers. By making this proposal to the Golden Arches, Burger King was putting the two brands of equal footing. This would be unacceptable to the traditional top dog brand strategy, which is to not acknowledge the competition. There might be some exceptions, but in general McDonald's expresses its #1 status by pretending it has no competitors, just as Coke doesn't talk about Pepsi. It's up to the competitors to take down the kind of the hill.

2. The McWhopper makes one seem better than the other.

Watch this video from the campaign microsite:

Note the subtleties. BK didn't call the Big Mac/Whopper blend the "Big Whopper." That's because the very name Whopper is a reminder that the burger, introduced in 1957 (10 years before the Big Mac) is about "bigger."

Now look at the proposed burger:

The Big Mac upper half is dwarfed by the Whopper bottom half. This is a shot at the Big Mac brand.

Now, look at how the ingredients are described:

By using only one of the "two all beef patties" and 2/3 of the 3-layer bun, they almost yell out Wendy's old line of "Where's The Beef?" The Whopper ingredients, however, focus on fresh toppings and "flame grilled" patty.

3. Even the packaging is skewed

Who gets the most real estate on the box?

4. There's already been a "McWhopper" 

Thirty years ago, McDonald's genuinely tried to imitate the Whopper with the utter failure of the McDLT.

I was only 15 at the time, but I distinctly recall referring to the obvious imitation as a "McWhopper." Maybe it was just me, but even the proposed mashup burger brought back memories of that disaster.

So, to accept this challenge as stated, McDonald's would have to first acknowledge Burger King as an equal rival, then deal with the various slights that BK made against their signature brand.

The stunt, which according to AdFreak was a collaborative effort between Y&R in New Zealand, Code & Theory, Alison Brod Public Relations, The David Agency, Rock Orange, Turner Duckworth and Horizon, was pure brilliance. It was also designed to "fail" in getting McDonald's onboard. However, I'm not sure that the agencies and the BK fold could have anticipated how poorly MCDonald's would fumble the response.

Regardless, it was a huge success in building up Burger King's cool, as well as making Peace One Day a topic of conversation.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Burger King wants to make love, not war, with McDonald's #PeaceDay

This is awesome, and not just as a marketing coup.

Burger King today placed this full-page ad in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, offering to collaborate with McDonald's on a "McWhopper" for Peace One Day.

Burger Business quotes Fernando Machado, Burger King SVP for Global Brand Management: “We’re being completely transparent with our approach because we want them to take this seriously,” Machado says. “It would be amazing if McDonald’s agrees to do this. Let’s make history and generate a lot of noise around Peace Day. If they say no, we’ll hopefully have, at the very least, raised much-needed financial support and consciousness for the great cause that is Peace One Day. And both are well worth the effort.”

McDonald's, however, did not take the burger bait:

I'm not surprised, but I'm still a little disappointed. It was a fun and clever ploy, however McDonald's countered coldly with a holier-than-thou attitude. In the end, though, I now know about Peace One Day. And yesterday, I did not. The bigger question is, what am I going to do about it?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

British wine campaign makes a vintage joke in bad taste

Premier Estates Wine, a British importer, has decided to recycle a very old sight gag to get publicity for its products. With the tagline "#tastethebush, they've taken to Twitter and YouTube:

They call it "the brand’s playful, tongue-in-cheek tone that’s born from classic British humour."  I call it a bad pun.

But hey, here's your attention:

I tend to agree with the complaint about Australian wines. Monty Python once compared the bouquet of one to an armpit (with regrettable racism). It makes you wonder why a UK wine seller wants to compare the taste of their Shiraz to the great down under.