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McDonald's responds to Hummer protest

Thursday, September 7, 2006

On McDonald’s CSR blog, Vice President Bob Langert has defended the company’s Hummer Happy Meal promotion by dismissing the effect that advertising has on children:

… I polled my staff who have or had children. One of them said her children enjoy the little Hummer replicas as toys, just as many kids like toy trucks, regardless of make or model. She drives a MiniCooper, walks with her children to get groceries, bicycles with them on weekends, etc. Another said her grandchildren absolutely love the toy Hummers--that they're fun.

Of course, there's nothing scientific about this poll, but I think it makes an important point. Looked at through children's eyes, the miniature Hummers are just toys, not vehicle recommendations

When Langert says "the miniature Hummers are just toys, not vehicle recommendations" he's being either naive or disingenuous–-everyone knows that promotions exist to drive sales. Last time I checked, Hummer was not in the business of making kids happy. They are in the business of selling vehicles that pollute the air, waste gas, heat up the atmosphere and send asthmatic kids to the hospital. If McDonald's is truly concerned about the environment and health, why do they want to be associated with that?

I've submitted these thoughts in a comment on Mr. Langert's blog, and the comment has yet to be approved for posting. If it’s not up by tomorrow I'm sounding the astroturfing bells.

UPDATE: After more than 5 days--and critical posts on TreeHugger, AdWeek, Fast Company, Emergence Marketing, Church of the Customer blog, AutoBlogGreen, TriplePundit, CityHippy, and several others,--McDonald’s is unable to ignore the buzz calling into question the authenticity of its corporate blog. Last night, VP Bob Langert began allowing comments, but has yet to respond to any of them. Langert still needs to respond to live up to his blog’s name, “Open for Discussion.”

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