Well, I checked McChronicles to what they had been up to lately. Apparently, they have seen the newest tv spots from Mickey D's.
The ads that I have seen have been aired largely during the coverage of the Turin Olympics and feature a plastic Ronald sitting on a park bench and being related to by people from various walks of life. The very first one I saw was a guy who looked like he was Ronald's human teenaged son. He saw Ronald and the resemblance and decided to sit down next to Ronald and adopt the same cross-legged pose. In another, a small child places a scarf around his neck. The one I saw last night featured a little boy providing positive feedback onMcDonalds' french fries.
I have not seen the hamster or the gorilla spots, McChronicles mentioned, though I am sure that will come soon to my area.
Throughout the Olympics so far (McDonalds is a major sponsor), I have seen the usual spots for spicy chicken and probably the most blatant spot that emphasizes the company's Olympic sponsorship-Ronald competing in the figure skating finals.
I imagine since the Carly Peterson debacle, where she as a featured athlete on McDonald's packaging, admitted in an brief interview prior to going to Athens that she did not eat a lot of McDonalds, they have relied on their red headed spokesman to sell their product rather than any Olympians since Mickey D's would likely be verboten on many athlete's diets.
I don't mind the sitting park bench Ronald spots. The ones with the children are cute (which is what they are designed to be). I do agree that they are a bit weird not unlike the plastic faced King of Burger King fame. (Sadly, I remember when the King was a real walking and talking man that turned his ring and magically the children had burgers and fries, their way.)
I do not know that these spots are an effective campaign. Is the point that Ronald relates to everyone? Or is the deeper message that Ronald McDonald the product he represents, McDonalds so entrenched in our psyche that they don't even have to say anything or do anything to get us to schlep to the nearest restaurant...
I grew up with McDonalds like many and have eaten at many of the resturants. As an adult, I tend to care more about the service and the atmosphere, since I am the one buying the food. I have been feeling lately, especially in the Boston area that customer service and cleanliness are dirty words-as if because you are purchasing fast food that you should not expect the basics. To be fair, many of the franchises are not exactly bastions of white collar jobs.
Workers do have to put up with equally rude customers who I feel should be sentenced to work for a fast food restaurant for a month as a way to adjust their attitude. Fast food workers are seen as the bottom of the food chain-somewhere down there with garbage men, maids and administrative assistants. There is even a word-McJob-to describe apparently a class of people that have jobs that are not seen as being important.
A sin really because I always thought that any job that you can do that puts food on the table and does not hurt anyone is a good job and those who hold such a job are deserving of respect.
However, I think that sometimes pride is lost. The some of the restaurants tend to be clean enough just to get over on inspection but not to make you stay there.
I marvel at how this started out as being observations on McDonalds' marketing during the Turin Olympics and has morphed into observations on how some of the restaurants reek of grease and defeat.
I hope that I have opportunity to visit the McDonalds restaurants that have been profiled in McChronicles and I hope that one of them will be in my area.