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Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get...
September 9, 2002 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get happy. Go to Mickey D's. Watch ABC. Get... Under a deal to be announced today, McDonald's Corp. will heavily promote ABC's 8-to-9 p.m. slot, which the network has called the "Happy Hour." "The mantra of this campaign is: 'Go to Mickey D's, watch ABC, get happy,' " said Michael Benson, ABC's senior vice president for marketing, advertising and promotion, who helped assemble the deal.

Funny. I thought "happy hour" meant cheap beer and free wings.
posted by NedKoppel (37 comments total)

 
Funny. I thought "happy hour" meant cheap beer and free wings.

I smell a menu change.
posted by Darke at 1:55 PM on September 9, 2002


So that's why they embraced the nickname "Mickey D's"...
posted by soyjoy at 1:56 PM on September 9, 2002


Last time I checked, McD's didn't sell beer in the USA.
posted by lsd4all at 1:59 PM on September 9, 2002


Mmmm... wings..

I concur.. happy hours are spent anywhere but at a McDonald's!
posted by TuffAustin at 2:01 PM on September 9, 2002


But if I go to McDonald's, I have to leave my house. And then, so much for watching any TV.
posted by padraigin at 2:02 PM on September 9, 2002


He [Dan Longest, senior vice president for integrated marketing and promotion for ABC] called it a "good parallel" to the predictability in food quality and service that McDonald's offers across its chain.

Enough said.
posted by originalname37 at 2:03 PM on September 9, 2002


'and for the $64,000 question:
"Which best describes delicious McDonalds fries?"

a) tender love'in b)Good and good for you
c)happiness d)All of the above

....and your final answer is?
posted by Dr_Octavius at 2:04 PM on September 9, 2002


"Do we want to have mainstream, accessible programming? Absolutely. Do we want to have dark and inaccessible programming? That's a resounding no," said Alex Wallau, president of the ABC Television Network. "We've had shows that were well received critically but were not accessible for our audiences. We want to get out of that business. But that doesn't mean you can't be innovative."

...

"We don't want to be pablum, so all-things-to-all-people that we're meaningful to nobody," Wallau said. "We want to be broad and accessible and distinctive. That's the challenge of programming."

...

"When you watch from 8 to 9 p.m., you'll know what to expect," [Dan Longest, senior vice president for integrated marketing and promotion for ABC] said. He called it a "good parallel" to the predictability in food quality and service that McDonald's offers across its chain.

...

The Happy Hour name and concept was dreamed up by Leo Burnett Co., a Chicago "brand builder," which is a firm that works to bolster public recognition and acceptance of a company brand. McDonald's is well known for its Happy Meal, but ABC said the Happy Hour name was conceived before McDonald's was approached.

"That was when the lightbulbs went off in our heads," Benson said. "We thought: 'This is perfect for McDonald's. They're a big, broad accessible chain store. They want everybody to come in and come back again. Our whole brand is about broad and accessible.' "


What can a commentator add to this? It's self-deconstructing.
posted by blueshammer at 2:05 PM on September 9, 2002


Once you give up caring about television at all, it's extremely gratifying, and pretty entertaining, to watch media and advertising take themselves to their absurd extremes. I mean, 20 years ago, this sort of stuff (and Survivor, and the Real World, and The Beverly Hillbillies Reality Show, and American Idol, and ...) would have been fodder for any number of postmodern novelists. Now guys like DeLillo and Pynchon and Gaddis appear absolutely prosaic next to the mind of an ABC marketing executive.
posted by risenc at 2:17 PM on September 9, 2002


All I'd like to say is that that isn't a very catchy mantra. It needs a better meter... "Mickey D's, ABC, Happy Happy Happy. Mickey D's, ABC, Happy Happy Happy."
posted by wanderingmind at 2:19 PM on September 9, 2002


The thing that makes an outing to McDonald's enjoyable for me is their little ketchup machines with those little white paper cups. One press and voila, a cup of ketchup! No spillage, no overflow, no mess. I want one of those for my kitchen!
posted by debralee at 2:21 PM on September 9, 2002


As the LSD user doesn't get my joke...
posted by Darke at 2:23 PM on September 9, 2002


That was when the lightbulbs went off in our heads

Don't you hate it when people misuse phrases? Or maybe it's all the more telling.
posted by Ufez Jones at 2:24 PM on September 9, 2002


Hmmm... Just more evidence that network TV is preprocessed bland crap. Parallels indeed!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 2:30 PM on September 9, 2002


The thing that makes an outing to McDonald's enjoyable for me is their little ketchup machines with those little white paper cups. One press and voila, a cup of ketchup! No spillage, no overflow, no mess. I want one of those for my kitchen!

They seem to have removed these from the Haight Street McDonald's. They've gone back to thrusting about seven packets of ketchup into your hand, on request, for your small fries. About once a week, I have occasion to look back on the little paper cups with nostalgic yearning.

Although on second thought, the Haight Street McDonald's does have a TV screen at the counter, on which they show news updates and commercials. Wanna bet they'll also be showing the ABC "Happy Hour"?
posted by padraigin at 2:36 PM on September 9, 2002


I have no doubt that this would work. After all, McDonald's success is entirely due to the fact they have been able to manipulate a mass market into believing their food is edible.
posted by konolia at 2:41 PM on September 9, 2002


How long before McDonald's copyrights the phrase "Happy Hour" and starts handing out cease and desist orders left and right?
posted by mathis23 at 2:42 PM on September 9, 2002


1)

I hate the slogan "Go to Mickey D's, watch ABC, Get happy". I mean, i realize that these people are trying to get us to associate certain unrelated feelings with their products, but do they need to be so damn obvious? Anyone with two brain cells to knock together would see right through that. It doesn't flow at all, so it forces you to think about it. And once you think about it, you see the absurdity of it.

2)

In doing so, ABC hopes to buck a trend. Television has become increasingly fractured since the rise of cable two decades ago, as programmers and advertisers target ever smaller slices of the viewing public. By teaming up with McDonald's, ABC is trying to align itself with the fast-food giant's strategy of offering non-threatening, middle-of-the-road fare in hopes of appealing to the broadest possible audience.

Yeh, if there's anything I enjoy, it's bland, boring crap. Yup.

3)

I could really go for some fries right now.

4)

The deal means widespread broadcast exposure for McDonald's, which has recently struggled with sales amid heightened competition from other fast-food alternatives, such as Subway.

Nevermind. I want a sub.
posted by delmoi at 2:50 PM on September 9, 2002


I have to admit that I do take my daughter to McDonald's. They have an indoor playgound there, just the thing for hot (or cold) Wednesday evenings. I was saddened when they put a blaring TV in the playroom, waaay up on the wall where nobody could reach it to turn it off. Nobody but my daughter's 6'5" daddy. Guess I know what channel it'll be tuned to in the future.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:54 PM on September 9, 2002


How long before McDonald's copyrights the phrase "Happy Hour" and starts handing out cease and desist orders left and right?

I nearly added the following to my post and resisted: They're co-opting the phrase "happy hour" now? Next they'll develop a product called the McDonald's Right Foot®, and then my own right foot won't actually be a right foot anymore because ol' Mickey D's will have it trademarked...
posted by NedKoppel at 2:55 PM on September 9, 2002


Konolia: Mickey D's products are, in fact, edible, but they are not palatable or desirable. Please be careful not to say anything that might slander ground beef products in South Dakota, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Colorado and Louisiana!!! Don't want to be breaking any laws here.
posted by zaelic at 2:55 PM on September 9, 2002


What's great about this story is how it exhibits two seemingly mutually exclusive attitudes in advertising: On the one hand, consumers are savvy, and unlikely to respond to marketing through traditional channels; therefore, cooperation across industries and media is necessary to motivate them. On the other, consumers are stupid sheep who respond only to the most basic of stimuli; therefore, "Go to Mickey D's, watch ABC, Get happy."
posted by risenc at 2:58 PM on September 9, 2002


Nothing better than two offensive forces uniting. Very satisfying.


Prediction: you'll be able to watch HGTV in Lowes or Home Depot in 2003. And so on...
posted by ParisParamus at 3:02 PM on September 9, 2002


Anyone who wishes to join Ned and me (and others) for the aforementioned free wings and cheap beer in DC tomorrow night, lemme know, and I'll give you the details. No Happy Meals, just happy hour.
posted by MrMoonPie at 3:12 PM on September 9, 2002


I wonder why ABC doesn't just flat out put McDonald's food in their shows? Movies have been doing product placement for ages. I see a lot of Mac laptops in shows, but that's about the only name brand I remember seeing. Are there some FCC rules against this kind of in-show advertising?
posted by picea at 3:19 PM on September 9, 2002


Together, ABC and McDonald's have finally cornered the elusive and lucrative Loser market.

Props.
posted by xmutex at 3:28 PM on September 9, 2002


zaelic --- no fear on farm products defamation laws here. I doubt McDonald's is using American beef... actually, I think it's rat.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:49 PM on September 9, 2002


That was when the lightbulbs went off in our heads.

That is the funniest damn thing I've read all week. Or even last week.
posted by Ayn Marx at 4:17 PM on September 9, 2002


Benson could have meant to say "flashbulbs went off," which would have fit his (presumed) intended meaning. But then you lose the "light bulb over head = idea" cartoon symbolism.
posted by hilker at 4:29 PM on September 9, 2002


I just noticed that nobody had posted the obligatory link to McSpotlight. Since I started this mess, I figured I might as well rectify this little oversight. Thank you, and have a McNice McDay.
posted by NedKoppel at 4:47 PM on September 9, 2002


Once you give up caring about television at all, it's extremely gratifying, and pretty entertaining, to watch media and advertising take themselves to their absurd extremes.

Amen. You could also modify that to say, "Once you give up eating fast food at all..."
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:55 PM on September 9, 2002


The thing that makes an outing to McDonald's enjoyable for me is their little ketchup machines with those little white paper cups.

I never saw those at McDonald's until I moved out here to the West Coast. Back in the Midwest, the only major fast-burger joint that had the ketchup dispensers was Wendy's. (Everybody else had the packets.) As a kid, I really used to love dispensing my own ketchup.
posted by kindall at 7:23 PM on September 9, 2002


As a kid, I really used to love dispensing my own ketchup.

Snicker, snicker.
posted by gsteff at 8:58 PM on September 9, 2002


No, that's "special sauce" you're thinking of there, gsteff.
posted by kindall at 9:10 PM on September 9, 2002


Couldn't people respond with similar "grass roots" campaigns? How about "Eat Nathan's Hot Dogs, listen to NPR, get smart!" Or "Eat Chinese take-out, watch the History Channel, be kind of depressed!" and my favorite, "Eat home cooking at family table, talk to each other and tell stories afterward, ignore media completely!"
posted by zaelic at 2:22 AM on September 10, 2002


I wonder why ABC doesn't just flat out put McDonald's food in their shows?

Drew Carey was once lost in China, and his salvation was finding a McDonalds. Half the episode took place in the store.
posted by quibx at 5:51 AM on September 10, 2002


When I think of 'get happy' I think of 'get shorty.' The thought of a mob of people chasing a terrified Ronald (or Goofy) gives me a smile.
posted by kfury at 8:45 AM on September 10, 2002


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