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May 1, 2009 12:57 PM   Subscribe


 
Baobab > McD's
posted by pyrex at 1:02 PM on May 1, 2009


no.
posted by chara at 1:08 PM on May 1, 2009


My god, that Baobob line. I'm as far from black as you can get and I think I'm offended anyway.
posted by rokusan at 1:09 PM on May 1, 2009 [14 favorites]


... Do PR people even live in the same universe we do?
posted by strixus at 1:09 PM on May 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Imagine a big floppy red shoe stamping on a human face - forever.
posted by The Whelk at 1:10 PM on May 1, 2009 [63 favorites]


And I thought the food was nauseating.
posted by Malor at 1:10 PM on May 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


[winces, and looks away]
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:11 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


And here I thought their radio commercials were about as insulting to the black community as they were likely to get. Silly me!
posted by penduluum at 1:13 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Doesn't the baobab tree also provide excellent cover for a predator to lurk, just waiting to drop down from the leafy branches onto the back of its unwary (and quickly devoured) prey?

Just asking.
posted by dersins at 1:13 PM on May 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


That takes swagga.
posted by tallthinone at 1:14 PM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Cultural co-optation so nakedly false and self-serving it doesn't so much defy parody as punch a hole in the fabric of space-time leading into a world where irony has never existed, could never exist, would choke on the very atmosphere of this alternate reality in a silent scream like someone blown out a launch tube on Battlestar Galactica?

I'm lovin it.
posted by gompa at 1:15 PM on May 1, 2009 [14 favorites]


Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:16 PM on May 1, 2009


Did this just complete a McDonald's trifecta?
I'm lovin' it.
posted by cimbrog at 1:17 PM on May 1, 2009


McDonalds appears in the text of three of the last four posts. Apparently, everybody's hungry today.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:17 PM on May 1, 2009


On post, cimbrog's funnier than I.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 1:18 PM on May 1, 2009


... Do PR people even live in the same universe we do?

Who's "we"? I mean, obviously they get paid right? Someone must think they're doing a good job and obviously lots of people like the products they shill. Would McDonald sell more or less of this crap if it had fewer PR people? And on top of that, the kind of person disgusted by this type of behavior probably isn't eating McNuggets anyway.

So the reality is, they're living in different universes then us for sure. We know our universe is closer to the underlying reality, because we know that their job is to alter the impression of the universe. And you could argue that we live in our impressions of the universe.

But, although their constructed, artificial universe is less real then ours, their heads floating away in mists of self-induced confusion who's universe is closer to impression of the universe seen through the great warped lens of the impression of the masses. Seen through the eyes of sheep grazing through rich fields of french-fry grass and McNugget blossoms?
posted by delmoi at 1:19 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]




Reminds me, in its way, of McD's first foray into Flash animation: Iam Hungry, the beloved "VP of Snacking," briefly the star of the company's website ca. 1998.

(Yes, I had to go to Geocities for that link; seems fitting, actually.)
posted by gompa at 1:21 PM on May 1, 2009


McDonald’s® gave me a chance a lot of money to share my love for Chicken McNuggets®.

So wait, is it a song that just happens to interject little McNuggets® of product placement love in its verses, or is it an actual love song for Chicken McNuggets? (I refuse to listen).

As long as it's not about lovin' living poultry, b/c that's now illegal.
posted by ornate insect at 1:21 PM on May 1, 2009


keith sweat: may i please, please share my love of chicken mcnuggets in song with the rest of the world? asap, if at possible?

elektra, atco: no. it won't sell.

keia: well, keith, since you are the owner of the company we can't stop you. we do not, however, think that your audience is ready to hear your love for chicken mcnuggets quite yet.

mcdonald's: we're lovin' it. it makes us sweat down there.
posted by the aloha at 1:22 PM on May 1, 2009


"an aggressive, demanding, edgy and outrageous fuzz ball who is all appetite especially for McDonald's food"

Sentence this brain ruined syntax now hurt bad thing cry.
posted by The Whelk at 1:24 PM on May 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


Wow. I learned something about the Adansonia digitata tree today. Thanks, McDonald's!
posted by chinston at 1:24 PM on May 1, 2009


>... Do PR people even live in the same universe we do?

It's their job not to:

""I'd like nothing better than to put you in touch with one of our caretakers on Ronald," he said. "It's just that the people who manage Ronald on the McDonald's end are really, really serious about him. And it's a difficult time, because Ronald is going through some evolutions right now ... You'd be surprised how really passionate and sometimes sensitive people are about this character."

I read that article nine years ago, and I still sometimes think about how goddamn absurd it must be to a) be in charge of what Ronald McDonald "does" and b) think of (or at least refer to) him as a real person.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:25 PM on May 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Unlike the Baobab tree, McDonald's (and other fast food, really) helps promote the 1.6 times greater incidence of diabetes in blacks vs whites.

Blech. Disturbing.
posted by NikitaNikita at 1:25 PM on May 1, 2009


(Should have added: Besides diabetes, blacks have greater predisposition to sevral other cardiovascular issues/metabolic syndrome-type diseases as well. )
posted by NikitaNikita at 1:27 PM on May 1, 2009


It is to weep.

Did I say "weep"? Because I meant "puke".
posted by you just lost the game at 1:28 PM on May 1, 2009


Holy fuck. What the... Did I wake up in a fucking world built of insanity goop? Did someone change what words mean? Is this some elaborate hoax played on my disembodied spirit by Descartes' evil genius? Because, man, I am pretty stunned at the level of absurdity here.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:29 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's more liberal condescension in this thread than trans-fat in a Double Quarter-Pounder.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:30 PM on May 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Think the man got paid? The man who wrote that song? Think he got a percentage? Nigga, please. The man who wrote that song is just some sad-ass down in Keith Sweat's basement. Thinkin' up some songs to make some money for the real players. Think that ain't right? Fuck "right." It ain't about right. It's about money.

You think Keith Sweat's gonna go down in that basement and say "Mr. Nugget, you the bomb so I'm gonna write my Keith-Sweat-ass name on this fat-ass cheque for you.?" Sheeeit.

And the nigga that wrote that song is still down in Keith Sweat's basement workin' on some song to make the fries taste better or some shit.
posted by Shepherd at 1:30 PM on May 1, 2009 [17 favorites]


That's the idea behind 365Black.com. It's a place where you can learn more about education, employment, career advancement and entrepreneurship opportunities...


Maybe Chuck D. would be interested.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:32 PM on May 1, 2009


very bold to bring up trees when you're one of the most accused companies re: benefiting from deforestation.
posted by nadawi at 1:32 PM on May 1, 2009


Don't forget to also check out Keith Sweat's McNuggets Lovers Club.
posted by Kabanos at 1:32 PM on May 1, 2009


> Did I wake up in a fucking world built of insanity goop?

Every day, brother. Every. Damn. Day.
posted by you just lost the game at 1:32 PM on May 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't know. Those Sonic ads are just as stupid, but targeted at white people. Presumably, not many people take the portrayal of Sonic customers as white, stupid, and self centered as a generalization of all white people. The baobab stuff is patronizing, but it's not like black people are stupid enough to fall for marketing just because someone appeals to their skin color.
posted by stavrogin at 1:33 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


This just brings to mind Dave Chappelle's "Calvin/WacArnolds" sketch to me.






and fuck Keith Sweat for enabling this coopting of black culture.
posted by anansi at 1:33 PM on May 1, 2009


Nourishing?
posted by buzzman at 1:36 PM on May 1, 2009


Does this mean they're bringing back the dark meat mcnuggets?
posted by Kabanos at 1:37 PM on May 1, 2009


I don't know. Those Sonic ads are just as stupid, but targeted at white people. Presumably, not many people take the portrayal of Sonic customers as white, stupid, and self centered as a generalization of all white people.

Can't that just be a crude generalization of bad improv characters doing lame Squick-Schick?
posted by The Whelk at 1:37 PM on May 1, 2009


if anything, mefi has been co-opted.
three posts related to mcdonald's within like two hours is a bit extreme.
posted by the aloha at 1:40 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did I wake up in a fucking world built of insanity goop?

I don't know, are you Gwyneth Paltrow?
posted by hermitosis at 1:42 PM on May 1, 2009


Those Sonic ads are just as stupid, but targeted at white people.

I love those ads. I am white. I guess Sonic wins.
posted by owtytrof at 1:44 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Now there were some terrible seeds on the planet that was the home of the little prince; and these were the seeds of the baobab. The soil of that planet was infested with them. A baobab is something you will never, never be able to get rid of if you attend to it too late. It spreads over the entire planet. It bores clear through it with its roots. And if the planet is too small, and the baobabs are too many, they split it in pieces . . .

"It is a question of discipline," the little prince said to me later on. "When you've finished your own toilet in the morning, then it is time to attend to the toilet of your planet, just so, with the greatest care. You must see to it that you pull up regularly all the baobabs, at the very first moment when they can be distinguished from the rosebushes which they resemble so closely in their earliest youth. It is very tedious work," the little prince added, "but very easy."
- Antoine de Saint Exupéry, translated from the French by Katherine Woods
posted by egypturnash at 1:49 PM on May 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


Oh dear god, I just sent the 365black link along to my (largely non-evil, really) PR friends, who will enjoy its total gagworthiness.

I'm expecting a commercial along the lines of, "Hello, I'm Billy Dee Williams, here to tell you the new McDonald's Champale Shake is smoooooooooooooooooth and sexy" any minute now, and perhaps a CGI-reanimated Luther Vandross groovin' on the double Filet o' Fish.

(McDonald's does have the best tartar sauce of anyone anywhere, however.)
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:50 PM on May 1, 2009


The Baobab is also known as the 'dead-rat tree' (from the appearance of the fruits), 'monkey-bread tree' (the soft, dry fruit is edible), Lemonade tree and cream of tartar tree, which makes me think of all the odd names one could call a Chicken McNugget. This reminds me of Toby Keith's teaming up with Ford to go on tour and make a movie, except it's less racially offensive and more noxious on a level of superliminal advertising.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:52 PM on May 1, 2009


I had an African-American friend who worked as an accountant at McDonald's corporate offices. When people asked him at parties and such what he did for a living, he would tell them he worked for McDonald's. The response was usually something along the lines of, "Oh. Well, that's cool, I mean, it's hard for a lot of young black men to find work these days." I thought this was a bit of a set-up, but his counter was that if a well-dressed and well-groomed white guy the same age had said the same thing, people would ask if he was a territorial manager or something. And that could be. I don't know, I didn't follow him to parties eavesdropping on his exchanges with others.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:54 PM on May 1, 2009


When people asked him at parties and such what he did for a living, he would tell them he worked for McDonald's. The response was usually something along the lines of, "Oh. Well, that's cool, I mean, it's hard for a lot of young black men to find work these days."

Personally (and [hopefully] regardless of race), my response to that would vary according to whether he said he worked for McDonald's or at McDonald's. The former, I'd infer an executive or non-storefront job, the latter, a storefront job.
posted by Shepherd at 1:58 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Like the unique African Baobab tree, which nourishes its community with its leaves and fruit, McDonald's has branched out to the African-American community nourishing it with valuable programs and opportunities."

Just wanted to post that again.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:58 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is a much better song about chicken nuggets: Nugget Man.
posted by Caduceus at 1:59 PM on May 1, 2009


"Like the unique African Baobab tree, which nourishes its community with its leaves and fruit, McDonald's has branched out to the African-American community nourishing it with valuable programs and opportunities."

And heart disease!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:00 PM on May 1, 2009


If someone said they worked "for" McDonald's, I would assume something clerical regardless of race. If they said they worked "at" McDonald's I'd assume fry-cook.
posted by RavinDave at 2:02 PM on May 1, 2009


... Or, what Shepherd and his superior net connection said ...
posted by RavinDave at 2:03 PM on May 1, 2009


Yeah, he said "for". I think the distinction's important, too.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:05 PM on May 1, 2009


Why am I reminded of the old Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom gags? --

"Like the pernicious, ubiquitous kudzu vine, which spreads like H1N1 and chokes the life out of everything it encounters, McDonald's has branched out to the African-American community, squeezing our viny artery-clogging tentacles around its health and well-being."
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:08 PM on May 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


McDonalds is bangala!
posted by Afroblanco at 2:15 PM on May 1, 2009


... Do PR people even live in the same universe we do?

Of course we do, friendo! We are all down and kicking it in the old school! And we are all up inside it! And we listen to all the dopest rap bands!

Our nuggets have the illest flavor flav! What we got, you got to get it put it in you! One look at our food and you and your home-peeps be all "I'm hittin that" wit da quickness! It's stupid fresh, yo! In full effect!

Peace out, my nubians!
posted by Ratio at 2:16 PM on May 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


The second I saw this, I start rooting around for my copy of The Little Prince, but I see egypturnash posted the relevant section first. But really, all you need to know about McDonald's is contained in an IM conversation I had with a friend a few years back...

him: well, the thing about gnomes is
him: remember before mcnuggets were all white meat? if you ever ate those
me: oh god
me: no
me: stop
him: then you've had gnomes
posted by lolichka at 2:21 PM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


But they're Deeply Rooted in the Community!

See, it's like Roots.
posted by katillathehun at 2:29 PM on May 1, 2009


Could have been worse, they could be promoting the Mcgangbang to, well, gangbangers.
posted by 445supermag at 2:30 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Valiable programs and opportunities?

Nugget, please!
posted by darkstar at 2:35 PM on May 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


This has got to be a joke.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:35 PM on May 1, 2009


Trans fats harm your spelling, too.
posted by darkstar at 2:36 PM on May 1, 2009


This is essentially like a Burger King advert, except if it was Burger King it would be satirical and edgy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:39 PM on May 1, 2009


And creepy and disturbing.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:41 PM on May 1, 2009


One look at our food and you and your home-peeps be all "I'm hittin that" wit da quickness!

I'd hit it!
posted by dersins at 2:41 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]




Who says "keen" anymore, really?
posted by The Whelk at 2:51 PM on May 1, 2009


delmoi: "... And on top of that, the kind of person disgusted by this type of behavior probably isn't eating McNuggets anyway."

I'm disgusted by it, AND I had a Sausage McMuffin w/Egg, today!

(and I'm disgusted with myself, shhh)
posted by symbioid at 3:01 PM on May 1, 2009


Anyone who's the cat's pyjamas, that's who.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:01 PM on May 1, 2009


... are the people who say "keen".
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:02 PM on May 1, 2009


365black? Are you fucking kidding me?

This is the chairman of the board at McDonalds. Whitey McWhitenstein. And this is his second in command.

I have seen titanium dioxide that has more black in it.

Even the most dystopian fiction I've read fails to capture the hall-of-mirrors insano world this has become. The most ubiquitous restaurant that serves some of the the lowest quality food to the most disenfranchised populace by hiring a has-been singer to express his love for a pink glop that's molded into squiggles and fried in the worst oil.

*sigh*
posted by chronkite at 3:25 PM on May 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


Whoa, where's that pink glop image from? Any more photos from elsewhere in the process?
posted by arcticwoman at 3:41 PM on May 1, 2009


I can just picture this PR guy, sitting in his office, fed up. He's tired of the politics and the bullshit and it's all finally pushed him over the edge.

So when his boss comes in, drops the McDonald's 365black folder on his desk and tells him to "run with it," he goes freakin' nuts.

With a maniacal gleam in his eye, he cries out, "Run with it? I'll run with it, all right. I'ill write you an ad campaign that will dazzle you with its sheer friggin' brilliance."

Alarmed, his boss backs out of the office, where already the PR Rep, pen in hand, hunches over his desk, scribbling madly in a frenzy of creative mania. His pen scrawls, faster and faster, across the page, until finally, with a satisfied grunt, he finishes his masterpiece of merde.

"Like the unique African baobab tree," he reads aloud, drooling and giggling like a fiend,"which nourishes its community with its leaves and fruit," his giggles dissolve into hiccups, "McDonald's has branched out to the African-American community," and now the hiccups have becoming wracking sobs coursing through his body, doubling him over, " ourishing it with valuable programs and opportunities.' "

I bet they couldn't get the straitjacket on the poor dude fast enough. I just hope there weren't any letter openers nearby.
posted by misha at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


man, I SO should have previewed that. Damn.
posted by misha at 3:50 PM on May 1, 2009


How about we let their actual customers determine if this is offensive or not. I'm pretty sure McDonald's knows their customer base pretty damn well. Otherwise the outrage here borders on condescending and patronizing at best, racist at worst. Let the specific demo they are talking to here speak for itself. They are all growed up.
posted by spicynuts at 3:50 PM on May 1, 2009


Spicynuts, we are all potential customers. We can all see it and make up our minds. You don't have to be black to be offended by it. And how about you lay off the accusations of racism, hm?
posted by unSane at 3:58 PM on May 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Otherwise the outrage here borders on condescending and patronizing at best, racist at worst.

Please, please explain this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:01 PM on May 1, 2009


I think he's trying to attribute a "White Man's Burden" attitude to the response here.
posted by dersins at 4:06 PM on May 1, 2009


OMG, when did we ever say that we were WHITE???
posted by katillathehun at 4:08 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think "keen" is his way of saying, "Guys, really, I'm just doing this for the money. Don't take this seriously!"
posted by LordSludge at 4:11 PM on May 1, 2009


This is the chairman of the board at McDonalds. Whitey McWhitenstein.

Holy crap. He looks exactly like a real-life version of the ultra-WASP judge from Futurama. "My caddy's chauffeur informs me that a bank is a place where people keep money that hasn't been properly invested."
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:11 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


OMG, when did we ever say that we were WHITE???

We're all six colors!
posted by dersins at 4:12 PM on May 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


How about we let their actual customers determine if this is offensive or not.

OK. I grew up in a house three blocks from a McDonald's, and the amount of money all the kids within a 10-mile radius of the place dumped there during adolescence makes us not only customers but practically honorary freakin' stockholders.

That site is offensive on a number of levels.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:18 PM on May 1, 2009


I think he's trying to attribute a "White Man's Burden" attitude to the response here.

Oh, that white people aren't allowed to be offended by perceived racism? I still don't get it. I really want to hear what "Otherwise the outrage here borders on condescending and patronizing at best, racist at worst" is supposed to mean.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:22 PM on May 1, 2009


So, I’ll believe in liberal’s aid for me
When I see a white man load a black man’s gun.
posted by nadawi at 4:24 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like the unique African Baobab tree
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:25 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


As far as I can tell, Spicynuts thinks only black people are entitled to express opinions of corporate websites targeting black people.

Unfortunately, by the same logic, only black people are entitled to express opinions on our expressing opinions on the said matter, and therefore Spicynuts' post borders on condescending and patronizing at best, racist at worst.
posted by unSane at 4:32 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think there's a single neighborhood in the US, no matter how bad off, where the people were like, "Did you hear?!? They're bringing a McDonald's! Here! We're going to get food/jobs/a better life!".

Did I miss a feel good movie where a nice white lady moves into the hood, opens up a McD's and provides a doorway out of the ghetto or something?
posted by yeloson at 4:46 PM on May 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


That was actually the alternate ending to the last episode of "Growing Pains". You can watch it on the DVD box set.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:59 PM on May 1, 2009


The comments at the McNuggets Lovers Club are unreal.

Name: Karen Corday

Title: Just A Touch

Message: ...of sweet and sour sauce on my McNuggets and I swear I'll Make It Last Forever, except I can't because they are too good, and I eat them all up. Then I Get Up on It and go back to the drive in and tell them to Keep It Comin'...How Do You Like It?, they ask. One on One, I say. One lady. One more delicious order of McNuggets. "I'll Give All My Love To You... McNuggets." I whisper, opening the box and breathing in the golden sweetness. "We're gonna Make You Sweat!" they reply. And they do. It's the second sweetest Sweat in the world!

posted by desjardins at 5:02 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, Diddy is working on a song about how Popeye's chicken is never ending.
posted by orme at 5:15 PM on May 1, 2009


Those who weren't listening to Keith Sweat when he was in his prime (I think about 92 or 93) should know that his WHOLE music career was based of begging for p#$%@. That's all he did was beg for the booty. Same with his basement group, Silk (I think he was a stock broker before that). He's a hustler, that's all. He would've only been a producer in the 80s, and he wouldn't have charted at all in the 70s because the worst music then was still better than his best. Now, I can't help that I like McNuggets so damn much, and it sucks that I really feel like poppin and lockin when I'm dipping them in their heavenly barbecue sauce (I'm kidding about that). I wish I was at least as talented as Sweat so I could get phat offers to sell out. Keith Sweat, and MC Hammer...Proper.
posted by Flex1970 at 5:58 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


wow. That sure is something.
posted by lunit at 6:16 PM on May 1, 2009


Whoa, where's that pink glop image from? Any more photos from elsewhere in the process?

Seconding this. I am fascinated.
posted by rifflesby at 6:38 PM on May 1, 2009


With a maniacal gleam in his eye, he cries out, "Run with it? I'll run with it, all right. I'ill write you an ad campaign that will dazzle you with its sheer friggin' brilliance."

I did this ..several times when working with P.R and design and it always, always worked.

And I died each time. And now I don't do that anymore.
posted by The Whelk at 7:18 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]



Alarmed, his boss backs out of the office, where already the PR Rep, pen in hand, hunches over his desk, scribbling madly in a frenzy of creative mania. His pen scrawls, faster and faster, across the page, until finally, with a satisfied grunt, he finishes his masterpiece of merde.


Er, what I meant was, I've tried to give them the laziest, worst, most offensive copy as a rebuke and that's ALWAYS what they liked the best.
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Makes one remember Don "No Soul" Simmons
posted by mattoxic at 7:37 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


the revolution will not be supersized
posted by pyramid termite at 8:41 PM on May 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pink glop image shouldn't be so surprising if you've ever seen ground meat. It's just finely ground meat. It might look a little strange, but it allows for uniform shapes. Ever eat Pringles? How about tater tots? Or a hamburger patty?
posted by scrowdid at 9:46 PM on May 1, 2009


So, if you find this offensive, could you say why?

At McDonald's®, we believe that African-American culture and achievement should be celebrated 365 days a year — not just during Black History Month.

I'm not African-American, but if I was I think I'd find that pretty compelling.

A lot of people are focusing on the baobab line. I think it's over-the-top and sentimental, but what's offensive about it?
posted by flotson at 10:03 PM on May 1, 2009


So, if you find this offensive, could you say why?

Because McDonald's is a company which makes enormous profits by aggressively marketing and selling incredibly unhealthy garbage disguised as food. They sell much of it to poor people in urban areas with few other options. Many of those people are black.

When McDonald's then turns around and puts on an act as though it cares deeply about the well-being of the people upon whom it preys to make tremendous profits, literally calls itself their tree of life, even-- well, if that doesn't offend you you're either not paying attention or haven't thought it through.
posted by dersins at 10:25 PM on May 1, 2009 [4 favorites]



So, if you find this offensive, could you say why?


Because its marketing disguised as cultural expression. The sentiment, if it were sincere is fine. However as a tactic to sell me more shit that is bad for me, it is disingenuous and patently offensive. It is a co-opting of black culture and issues that is designed to exploit black people as a consumer base and is inherently cynical and full of shit.
posted by anansi at 11:07 PM on May 1, 2009


So, if you find this offensive, could you say why?

Because of this, and if it's happening here, you can bet they've been doing it in the US for years.
posted by mattoxic at 1:20 AM on May 2, 2009


Also, the whole site is so nakedly self-serving. Every line of copy makes it clear that the *only* reason that the site exists is to promote McD's, with the strong implication that the authors believe that the target demo is not capable of seeing through it.
posted by unSane at 3:34 AM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's also the tone: "At McDonald's we (in our infinite whitey bwana wisdom) believe that every day should be Black History Day! What a revolutionary notion! My god we are so fucking enlightened and die-verse I just can't believe it, can you? So because we are your benevolent Great White Father, we have made this website where you, black person of color, can find out about all the wonderful, wonderful opportunities we provide you with our limitless and purely altruistic generosity.

Yes sir, you are some lucky homies. Would you like an orange soda with that?"

Business writing courses routinely teach that referring to one's company or organization as "we/us" while using "you" to mean its customers/clients tends to create an exclusionary, condescending tone -- even when that's not the writer's intention.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:58 AM on May 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pink glop image shouldn't be so surprising if you've ever seen ground meat. It's just finely ground meat. It might look a little strange, but it allows for uniform shapes. Ever eat Pringles?

Wait, there are meat Pringles?
posted by Rangeboy at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


whitey bwana, FelliniBlank?
posted by clockzero at 9:48 AM on May 2, 2009


Ever eat Pringles? How about tater tots?

man, the vegetarians are going to be pissed.
posted by desjardins at 10:24 AM on May 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Because of this, and if it's happening here, you can bet they've been doing it in the US for years.

Erm, yes. If I go to NYC, it's considerably more expensive to eat at McDonald's. There are also price differences between the city of Chicago and the suburbs. Just like gasoline, parking, and a number of other goods & services. The problem here is ??
posted by desjardins at 10:26 AM on May 2, 2009


Mickey D's I-Am Asian campaign has been following a similar MO for the past five years.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:31 AM on May 2, 2009



Because McDonald's is a company which makes enormous profits by aggressively marketing and selling incredibly unhealthy garbage disguised as food. They sell much of it to poor people in urban areas with few other options. Many of those people are black.


Dersins--yes, I agree.

When McDonald's then turns around and puts on an act as though it cares deeply about the well-being of the people upon whom it preys to make tremendous profits, literally calls itself their tree of life, even-- well, if that doesn't offend you you're either not paying attention or haven't thought it through.

But the end of your statement here is, itself, offensive, and not conducive to an open exchange of ideas, which is what I'm after. But I suppose that's beside the point as you've already made an assumption about my point of view and a judgment about that.

I asked the question because I didn't see anyone elaborating what their perspective actually was, as if it went without saying. Which it does not. We've had conversations on metafilter in the past about marketing to African-Americans in which people were calling something absurd that was, in fact, culturally appropriate.

This is tricky territory. While I agree with your point of view, I also assume that the corporate process that resulted in this advertising included African-Americans--McDonald's is not stupid. I can't presume, but it would not surprise me if this advertising, and the activities it describies, were viewed favorably by some African-Americans. (I would love to know, actually--how do AA folks feel about the "baobab" language, in particular?)

So, if this is true, what does it mean to say "This advertising is a crass appropriation of AA culture," to an African-American person who was involved in its creation? or to an African American person who liked it and felt represented by it?

Likewise, what does it mean to say "McDonald's preys on poor black people" to a poor black person who replies "I like McDonald's"?

I'm not implying that these are insoluble dilemmas and that one should refrain from saying anything. What I'm saying is that this is a complex rhetorical and socio-economic situation, and it requires discussion and activity that is as complex and nuanced.
posted by flotson at 12:58 PM on May 2, 2009


Because its marketing disguised as cultural expression.

Yes. For this reason, I find all advertising offensive. I don't think I'm generally a hateful person, but I hate this with as much hate as my fragile human body can muster.

But I doubt the intentions of those behind it, or advertising, or corporate control of the world's resources, are generally cynical. Whenever I've investigated this, the evidence is that--however wrong and deluded they may be--most human beings generally believe their activities to be on the side of good. Not everybody, but most. And I think this is important to keep in mind, when analyzing advertising, and corporate activity, and formulating strategies of opposition.
posted by flotson at 1:05 PM on May 2, 2009


What does it mean to say "Your husband is a wife-beater" to a woman who replies "But I love him?"
posted by unSane at 8:57 PM on May 2, 2009


Flotson, you are right that most people think they are doing good. You are wrong to think this is important. I've (absolutely literally) met child-murderers who thought they were doing good.
posted by unSane at 8:58 PM on May 2, 2009


What does it mean to say "Your husband is a wife-beater" to a woman who replies "But I love him?"

I don't know. How do you effectively communicate about oppression with someone who doesn't recognize it as such?

Flotson, you are right that most people think they are doing good. You are wrong to think this is important. I've (absolutely literally) met child-murderers who thought they were doing good.

Yes, but when it come to social change I maintain the hopeful belief that not everyone who disagrees with me is a monster. Some people are reachable via respectful and reasoned dialogue.
posted by flotson at 9:37 PM on May 2, 2009


Erm, yes. If I go to NYC, it's considerably more expensive to eat at McDonald's. There are also price differences between the city of Chicago and the suburbs. Just like gasoline, parking, and a number of other goods & services. The problem here is ??

Read the article mattoxic linked to, desjardins. They're charging more in the socio-economically depressed outer suburbs because people there will pay more for McDonald's. Nothing to do with costs, and wholly predatory.
posted by goo at 7:18 AM on May 3, 2009



Erm, yes. If I go to NYC, it's considerably more expensive to eat at McDonald's. There are also price differences between the city of Chicago and the suburbs. Just like gasoline, parking, and a number of other goods & services. The problem here is ??

Where they are doing the predatory pricing in my country it is mainly where costs are lower (lower class suburbs, regional towns) so there is no cost based explanation for the discrepancy.
posted by bystander at 8:27 PM on May 3, 2009


Read the article mattoxic linked to, desjardins. They're charging more in the socio-economically depressed outer suburbs because people there will pay more for McDonald's. Nothing to do with costs, and wholly predatory.

Yep, I read the article. I don't think it's predatory for McDonald's to charge more in areas of higher demand. People do not have to eat there. Almost everything in the U.S. is priced based on demand unless it is regulated. Starbucks also charges more in certain areas because the demand is higher. I don't have a God-given right to cheap coffee or fast food.
posted by desjardins at 10:35 AM on May 4, 2009


Yeah, I'm a little confused about the outrage, isn't that sort of what capitalism is all about, people paying the price that they are willing to pay and thus setting the value for something? I know it might be shocking but the organic farmer's collective I belong to does the same thing with Swiss Chard. If I pick it up at the farm stand it's one price, but if I pick up my produce at my neighborhood farmer's market the price is higher.

I'm no fan of big corporate fast food but I have the feeling that if McDonalds gave burgers away in the inner city, there would be a hue and cry that they were trying to poison the poor or, more sinister even, get them hooked on their product like a crack dealer!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:53 AM on May 4, 2009


I'm a little confused

Liar. You just disagree.

isn't that sort of what capitalism is all about, people paying the price

Yes. That is exactly what capitalism is all about. The food issue, in summary, is about inequalities (in access to better food, in nutrition education).
posted by flotson at 12:28 PM on May 4, 2009


I have the feeling that if McDonalds gave burgers away in the inner city

Right, because that's what people are advocating. Free burgers.
posted by flotson at 12:30 PM on May 4, 2009


I'm a little confused

Liar. You just disagree.


No, actually I'm confused about where your outrage is coming from. Turning your outrage onto me personally only adds to the confusion and doesn't really sell your point. I probably don't actually disagree with you on much actually. What I don't understand is why you seem to be outraged that a corporation would be doing anything other than trying to make money? Trying to make money doesn't make McDonalds predatory, it makes them what they are, a corporation. If your outrage is against the system as a whole, then that is a whole other can of worms.

The food issue, in summary, is about inequalities (in access to better food, in nutrition education).

So why the targeted outrage then? Don't people in first world suburbs have some of the best access to food choice, education, and jobs on earth?

I have the feeling that if McDonalds gave burgers away in the inner city

Right, because that's what people are advocating. Free burgers.


Nor am I, but it doesn't seem to matter what McDonalds does, it will be painted as some sort of conspiracy against the public. I'm not exactly sure what you would hope McDonalds to do? Disappear? Suddenly start selling a non-fast food menu? Cease advertising? What is the goal of the outrage? Maybe if you explained that I wouldn't be confused and you wouldn't have to call me a liar.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:24 PM on May 4, 2009


No, actually I'm confused about where your outrage is coming from. Turning your outrage onto me personally only adds to the confusion and doesn't really sell your point. I probably don't actually disagree with you on much actually. What I don't understand is why you seem to be outraged that a corporation would be doing anything other than trying to make money? Trying to make money doesn't make McDonalds predatory, it makes them what they are, a corporation. If your outrage is against the system as a whole, then that is a whole other can of worms.

OK, apologies for thinking you disingenuous. Then: I am outraged both at the system as a whole, and in its particular manifestations, e.g. McDonald's. (It's worth noting, however, that I expressed a position not dissimilar to yours earlier in the thread.)

Why target McDonald's? In this particular instance, I believe some choice words about the baobab, etc. caught the eye of the OP, as a particularly egregious and absurd bit of hypocrisy. On the particular subject of predatory pricing: the original point was that they were raising prices in poorer areas (the linked article referred to working-class suburbs in Australia). The larger issue is that impoverished neighborhoods often do not have access to quality food. Many poor neighborhoods lack a proper grocery store, and folks end up eating a lot of garbage from 7-11 (or, where I'm from, QuickTrip) and, say, McDonald's.

Nor am I, but it doesn't seem to matter what McDonalds does, it will be painted as some sort of conspiracy against the public. I'm not exactly sure what you would hope McDonalds to do? Disappear? Suddenly start selling a non-fast food menu? Cease advertising? What is the goal of the outrage? Maybe if you explained that I wouldn't be confused and you wouldn't have to call me a liar.

The dynamics underlying the particular example of McDonald's involve fundamental fucked-upness on the part of our system of social organization and distribution of resources. Opposing this is good. There are many, many ways to do so.

Why McDonald's? Individual corporations become targets of publicity campaigns around issues of labor, human rights, environmentalism, and so on, for a variety of reasons, often strategic. When you're trying to create social change, you analyze and select the best points to apply pressure. (I'm speaking hypothetically, at this point--I know of no particular organizing effort related to these issues that targets McDonald's, specifically, at this time.) But, yes, Burger King sucks too.

What do I expect McDonald's to do? Well, again speaking hypothetically, if I were organizing a pr campaign around food issues that targeted McDonald's, I'd formulate some specific demands that are winnable, that highlight the macro-issues and pave the way for further pushes down the road. This has already happened, in (as far as I know) an organic fashion: McDonald's has already made changes to its menu in response to shifts in public consciousness regarding diet and nutrition, and negative PR as the poster child for garbagey food. In general, I expect McDonald's, and other corporations to respond to public pressure and make changes in the direction of social justice, sustainability, human rights, public health, environmentalism, and so on--I expect these institutions, little by little, to be remolded to better serve the interests of the public.
posted by flotson at 6:57 PM on May 4, 2009


I don't think it's predatory for McDonald's to charge more in areas of higher demand.

Their previous pricing model had exactly the same prices no matter where you were, based on overall costs, which in a country as large and as sparsely populated as Australia is actually quite rare. To move to a targeted pricing model after 25-odd years, charging more in poorer areas instead of the usual targeted pricing of the wealthy, is cynical and yes, predatory.
posted by goo at 1:19 AM on May 6, 2009


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