Thursday May 11, 2006

Big Macs & Bikram Yoga

In Monday's FC Now (The Fast Company weblog), Danielle Sacks writes about "McDonald's latest PR schwag":
...burger-branded yoga and cardio videos. Ugh.

Okay, if fast food cattle houses want to peddle mandarin-accented salads and bottled water, great. But to try and spin your cause to health, the message is so unnatural it's like showing up at church to find out the priest is trying to convince you to convert to Judaism.

She finishes up with:
Listen, I'm all for companies encouraging healthy living. But to come from the source of clogged arteries, heart attacks and the super-sizing of America is just plain disingenuious, if not insulting. ...is there no shame -- or common sense -- in the branding world?

I have to disagree.

One reader, Laura P., responded:

Is it too much to imagine that this could be a step in the right direction? I do not understand why you find it insulting that McDonald's is trying to offer better food choices to some of it's customers.
and another, Andre B., wrote back to say:
I think what Danielle is upset about is that its MCDONALD'S that is doing this. One of the largest suppliers of crap food is getting publicity for doing something "good" when there are tons of places that have been trying to promote "goodness" and hardly get the promotion they deserve.

The way I see it, Laura makes an excellent point. McDonalds is exactly the right company to be doing this BECAUSE they are one of the culprits in promoting the American fats and starches diet. It may be true that "there are tons of places that have been trying to promote 'goodness' and hardly get the promotion they deserve." That's not the important issue. If McDonalds gets press for promoting exercise, or for adding salads to the menu, or for offering lower carb choices, don't think "Bad — it was McDonalds". See the message, not the messenger.

Actually, as far as I'm concerned, McDonalds is on the side of the angels. McDonald's hires the handicapped — and those employees work in the front, where customers can see and interact with them, helping to keep the stores clean. McDonald's has programs in place to reduce waste and increase recycling. (They used to convert the foam carton waste into playground equipment. When there was still more waste than they could recover, they changed to more biodegradable packaging). Last but most assuredly not least, Ronald McDonald Houses are one of my choices for favorable and important charitable organizations. My cousins stayed in Ronald McDonald Houses when their daughter was being treated for cancer.

For more information, take a look at the McDonalds website. You'll find sections on Food, Nutrition, and Health as well as Community, Environment, and Responsible Purchasing.

McDonalds sells what the public asks for and what they want to purchase. If, at the same time, McDonalds tries to do some Good, don't complain! It's up to you to make your own health choices and your own decisions.

Big Macs & Bikram Yoga ( in category Noteworthy ) - posted at Thu, 11 May, 13:04 Pacific | «e»