Ronald McDonald rings opening bell on Wall St., then threatens to cut insurance for 30K workers

These two items appeared in rapid succession in my Twitter feed:

screen-shot-2010-03-17-at-12403-pm2 9:26 AM — @CNNLive ‘Ronald McDonald’ rings Wall Street opening bell. Live:

9:29 AM — @WSJ McDonald’s says it may drop health insurance for nearly 30,000 workers unless a new requirement is waived


In case you are wondering, you can follow me on Twitter at CurseYouKhan.


Image is from Logorama, which won the Oscar last year for best short animation.



Press release of the day: “McDonald’s Enters the Catering Business … to the LGBT Community”

McDonald’s response should be clear and unequivocal: “Everyone’s welcome to eat our food-like products but we want everyone to understand this: WE DON’T DO BRUNCH.”

On one hand, McDonald’s foray into corporate support of the Lesbian, Gay, Homosexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community is getting rave reviews from the folks at The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). The McDonald’s Corporation paid $20,000 to become a member of NGLCC and have a seat on the board of directors.  Richard Ellis, McDonald’s USA vice president of communications was “thrilled” to join the chamber and stated that he “shares the NGLCC’s passion” for business growth and development in the LGBT community.

On the other hand, this foray has sparked the ire of groups such as the American Family Association (AFA) who is currently calling for a boycott of McDonald’s – until they remain neutral in the culture war.  Another company, the Timothy Plan Family of mutual funds handles McDonald’s pro-homosexual activism in a uniquely different fashion.  This fund family refuses to invest in McDonald’s because of the fact that they are promoting, what the fund calls, Non-Traditional Married Lifestyles.

I have no doubt this will be every bit as successful as the AFA boycott of Disney. During said boycott I believe (and I’m totally making this number up) Disney tripled in value.

The wonderful world of brand mashups

A great Brazillian graphic designer named Mario Amaya has taken a few of favorite brands and run them into each other at top speed. See some of the efforts below and see more here. His blog, Following Is For Cattle, makes me wish I’d paid attention when the Providence public school system was trying to teach me Portuguese.

What do Ray Kroc & Martin Luther King Jr. have in common?

From Open for Discussion, McDonald’s corporate responsibility blog:

In my remarks, I mentioned that the founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc, and Dr. King both demonstrated persistence and determination through their care for others and the sharing of the beliefs that shaped their philosophies.

And fries. They both liked french fries.

That quote is so wonderfully vague that it is all-encompassing. You could substitute anyone’s name for Kroc’s in that sentence and still have it be true.

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Would you like a diploma with that? McDonalds now serving course credits

McDThe UK government has given Ronald & Co. “the right to award credits toward a high school diploma to employees who complete on-the-job training programs.”

McDonald’s employees will initially be offered a “basic shift manager” course to train staff in everything they need to know to run a McDonald’s outlet — from hygiene to customer service.

No word on the report as to whether McD’s or railroad operator Network Rail and low-cost airline Flybe — which were also given the right to award credits — will be reimbursed by the government for this.

The plan has been dubbed McQualifications, by its foes. So now you be McQualified for your McJob.

And, before those of us on this side of the pond get too snooty about the Brits:

In the United States, McDonald’s offers courses in restaurant management that can be transferred for credit at traditional colleges and universities through its training facility, Hamburger University.

I want an athletic scholarship to HU.

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Advertisers use milk cartons & report cards to get in to school

Kids, schools and advertising — three great tastes that don’t taste great together.

While the entire thing makes me want to swear off bovine secretions forever, the best line has to be: “Milk Rocks!, with the blessing of schools, delivers to students, branded book covers and other fun, kid-friendly materials.”

  1. Giving blessings isn’t the business of schools.
  2. What definition of “kid-friendly” includes advertising?

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Least surprising study result of the day: Pre-schoolers respond to branding

Quoth Reuters: Preschoolers preferred the taste of burgers and fries when they came in McDonald’s wrappers over the same food in plain wrapping, U.S. researchers said, suggesting fast-food marketing reaches the very young.

No! Really?

This is news only to those who haven’t raised a kid in the US in the last 75 years. Even your idiot blogger has figured it out.

McDonald’s orders tide to halt: Tries to change definition of “McJob”

Fast food giant McDonald’s is set to begin a campaign to redefine “McJob” entries in British dictionaries, which it believes are both incorrect and insulting to its workers.

OED definition: “an unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects, esp. one created by the expansion of the service sector.”

This despite the fact that Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine recently named the company the “best place to work in hospitality,” and McD’s was also the first large British employer to be accredited under the government’s “Investors in People” scheme.

Because of things likes this, David Fairhurst — Mickey D’s chief personnel guy Over There and top King Canute impersonator — wants the definition changed to “reflect a job that is stimulating, rewarding and offers genuine opportunities for career progression and skills that last a lifetime.”

And yet the tide continues to come in. Odd.

McDonald’s wants to patent the sandwich

via Fast Food News: The fast-food giant has submitted patent applications in the U.S. and Europe for the “method and apparatus for making a sandwich.”

Simple work-around: Someone else should patent a sandwich that is composed of and/or tastes like actual food.

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And the worst commercial real estate in the US is…

Texas Stadium in Dallas and Jacobs Field in Cleveland. That’s according to Hasbro, which placed those two properties where the ultra-low rent Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues used to be, on its just-released Monopoly: Here & Now Edition. The company said the new edition “was designed to answer the question: “What would the most popular board game of all time look like if it were invented today instead of in 1935?” (Well, actually, it was designed to answer the ever-popular question: How do we move more units? But never mind that.) Top spots on the board go to New York’s Times Square, which takes the place of Boardwalk. Coming in second to New York yet again: Boston’s Fenway Park, which is Park Place. And not only have the properties been revamped but so have the tokens: the race car is a Toyota Prius, the old shoe is New Balance running shoe, and “the hip labradoodle takes the place of the Scottish terrier,” they tell us. The game tokens also include McDonald’s French Fries, a Motorola RAZR cell phone, and a generic airplane and laptop computer—which means none of the airlines or computer-makers would cough up a fee for naming rights. Cheap, cheap, cheap.

(FYI: This was originally written for a Brandweek newsletter. You should really check out, I DO!)