Last week, there was a freak car crash at a McDonald’s drive thru in Leeds.
Spoiler alert, no one was hurt.
I was somewhat bemused to find out that the driver had merely “lost control of the vehicle”, so my brain filled in the blanks with some wild speculation to satisfy my curiosity:
Mother takes insolent child to retail park. Insolent child demands McDonalds as reparation for being dragged through TK Maxx. Mother refuses. Child takes the wheel and makes a sharp left to the drive thru, resulting in disaster.
The driver simply needed McDonalds that badly, which is cracking (albeit unorthodox) publicity for any brand.
It was an inside job by McDonalds’ arch-nemesis Burger King, who have yet to claim responsibility for the attack.
Whilst the first two theories were extremely probable, the third couldn’t possibly be true. Burger King wouldn’t stoop to such basic levels of depravity. With the exception of their oddly sentimental Tweet last month, Burger King are renowned for their next level trolling of McDonalds (oh, and Yeezy, who could forget).
But I feel like before I go any further, we have to address the obvious, right? McDonalds is bigger. Way bigger. They make mucho mucho mas dinero. Comparing McDonalds to Burger King is like comparing Coke to Pepsi. Batman to Robin. Kylie to Dannii. But, like our Irn-Bru ad declares: it was Ron, not Harry who got with Hermione. So perhaps being the small-fry (in global, mutli-billion dollar terms) has its advantages? If David was to take on Goliath in the advertising arena, who would win?
It goes without saying that McDonalds has a strong brand image – it is an iconic, worldwide name. It’s in every location from Gorgie Road to Guantanamo Bay. It’s been the subject of documentaries. It helped Travis Birkenstok achieve his record 38 tardies in Clueless. But in the UK, I find their frequent attempts to promote that they are in touch with environmental and health concerns eye-rollingly tiresome.
For example, “we only 100% chicken breast” might sound promising. But where do said breasts come from? Are they from happy little organic chickens, roaming the picturesque countryside here in the UK? Or are they banged up abroad with the KFC inmates? The answer? It’s a McMystery.
And then there's the carrots. Again, good in theory, but what kid is seriously lining up to eagerly swap their fries for pre-packed veg? Even in the McDonalds Christmas ads, the kids pawn them off to the reindeer.
But, credit where credit’s due: other approaches by McDonalds have felt more genuine, such as the invisible workers ad and wedding guests tactically filling up on cheeseburgers and McNuggets before the ceremony. I’m also a sucker for the beautiful simplicity of the “Iconic Stacks” campaign. However, it proves that not even exemplary art direction can make a Fillet-o-Fish appear appetising.