Jul 10, 2007

I'm not lovin' it

McDonald's, your advertising confounds me lately. And before anyone asks:
Yes, I pay attention to commercials. I find them interesting barometers of what people who want to sell me stuff think of me. I am very sensitive to what people think of me.
And yes, most commercials are shallow, pandering and infantile, but at least I can understand what they're trying to say without having to use my brain at all.

So I must ask, what is happening over in the McDonald's ad department?

Example #1: The Cold Guy and His, um... Lady-friend
Setup: Man & woman sit on couch. Their relationship is unclear. Husband/wife? BF/GF? Roommates? First date?
Woman is dressed in tank-top and shorts, drinking cold McBeverage. Man in tight shirt (relationship to her still unclear) is obviosly freezing.
He gets up to turn up the thermostat. Relationship still and again unclear.
She comes over and turns it back down, saying "I like it cold" while sipping coyly on her straw.
Man is visibly "smuggling raisins" (see also, tight shirt + cold) and miserable but reacts by sheepishly turning the thermostat ALL the way down, apparently in deference to his...
What, dominatrix? Sister? Student? Pastor? Cleaning lady?

Who are these people and why don't they talk to each other like normal human beings?

"Are you cold?"
"Well, I'm freezing"
"Put on a sweater, then"


Moreover, is his - uh - physical reaction to the cold supposed to lead us to believe - "Dude! If HE'S nippin' out that much, SHE must be popping out of her shirt!! Think about it! Right ON!"?
Is that it?
Because 1) That's a big leap for me to make in order to have even slightly dirty thoughts about the woman. I need to, you know, think about stupid stuff like relationships and physics and biology first, not cold drinks and hot chicks, and B) Since when was McDonald's ever sexy?
And why DOESN'T he just put on a damn sweater? Stupid American.

Example #2: The Breakfast Buddies
Setup: Two guys eagerly eating McDonald's breakfast sandwiches. They talk about how great they are. They get really into how great these sandwiches are. Really REALLY into how great they are. Okay, got it. And then for no reason, the camera cuts to a wide shot and we see a third person at the table: A young guy, ostensibly their chum, in a full neck-brace-type getup. He is miserable. He eats no such breakfast sandwich and mutters, "I hate you guys."

This, people, is not only inaccurate (um, his hands can still reach his mouth right? Or is his jaw wired shut too, and HOW WOULD WE KNOW THAT?!), it's offensive (to, you know, people with real disabilities who can't actually feed themselves) and just plain mean. Who makes fun of their friend for breaking his neck? And why would they bring him along just to sit there and not eat? I NEED MORE INFORMATION!!

Does McDonald's not know this is happening?
My guess is they just don't care: They're McDonald's. People would still eat there if their ads were 30 seconds of footage from the Chicago race riots or a mall security camera or a rerun of "So You Think You Can Dance".
Who cares? Just slap on the golden arches and that insipid jingle at the end and watch America get fatter.

The least they could do is keep their advertising predictable, forgettable and marginally tempting. It seems to work for everyone else.
I just hope they don't go with the whole giant cartoon head thing like Burger King. That stuff creeps me the heck out.


ida said...

Oh, you know I'm with you on those ads being irritating and awful.

One point: it is clear that the man is married as he is wearing a giant gold wedding band, clearly visible when he works the thermostat. And that just makes his relationship with implied nipple lady even creepier...because she mustn't be his wife because surely they'd use words and so is he just filthy? Or maybe she was mail order? (Which doesn't take away the first question.)

Good thing we're watching PBS right now.

Keenester said...

Her nipples don't show because lady nipples are dirty, dirty objects. Your eyes would bleed and the baby Jesus would cry if you saw them...

Man nipples are funny and pure...

&rea said...

I am glad you posted that. Everytime I see the McSexy? commercial from McDonalds, I feel sexually offended. My wife tells me that I am being too sensative, but I don't agree. It is an offensive commercial, and it makes me feel dirty when I watch it. I haven't seen the other commercial that you are speaking of, but that nipple one is terrible. You are right though, McDonalds has literally taken over the world, so they could be anti semetic and people would still go there... Scary! One nice thing about living in Seattle, within the limits, is that there aren't too many fast food restaurants, at least not like there used to be. Thank you big city living!
Oh- and that King from Burger King, he gives me nightmares... especially watching him dance in that western commercial. Absolutely terrifying and I shudder as I type this.

(egg) said...

I was just freaking out about these commercials the other day with Mark. I want to kick those ads in the shins. Hate. HATE.

Mark told me not to think too hard and just let it go, but I can't help it. I think hard.

Anonymous said...

My Google search about this miserable piece of advertising led me here, my fellow nipple-ad haters. I'm glad you're out there!

Here's my take: when she turns down the thermostat and says "I like it cold," and then sucks suggestively on her straw, I think HE thinks she'll suck on HIS "straw" next if he makes himself cold enough for her. Can you just picture the kegged-out frat boys who dreamed up this junk and thought it was funny? Sigh.

Shoo shoo said...

Those ads have been a source of great controversy at my house too! If the ads are this confusing, are they good ads? I mean, we're talking about them but it hasn't made me go buy an iced coffee, I'll tell ya that. --shan