Friday, August 25, 2006


A fine example of the wheels of capitalism being greased with some good old-fashioned, "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" corporate partnering, McDonald's is offering toy Hummers with their Kid's Meals. It works perfect for them ... fat, happy ad-driven kids turn into fat, docile adults that consume what's fed to them, literally and figuratively. McDonald's and Hummer, the perfect marriage of corporatism and excess. I'd never go to McDonald's but unfortunately I think all kids of this generation are born with a McDonald's gene and Alex would protest. If McDonald's cared about anything but making a buck, maybe they'd have Prius toys. :-)

Wouldn't have been more useful for McDonald's to use that insanely recognizable name recognition (I think McDonald's was my son's first word) to encourage healthy eating, conservation, charity, volunteerism, etc. ... or at the very least just push the usual movie tie-ins? It's mindless but at least the kids aren't being encouraged to kill the planet and guzzle gasoline.

In that vein, here's a very funny parody of Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA (gag) called God Bless My SUV by the Capital Steps, a political satire group.


Sadie Lou said...

This might be a tad inappropriate coming from me but my mom sent me a link to a sight that was created to show people "humping" other people's Hummers in defiance of gas guzzling SUVs.
You might google it and see what you find.
I find this McDonald's+Hummer relationship pretty disturbing.

dbackdad said...

There's nothing that you could mention that would be inappropriate here. lol

I googled that and found a few videos. Hilarious!! Thanks, Sadie.

Scott said...

Wow, way to let every parent in the World of the hook there.

Laura said...

Scott: If you mean what I think you mean (that Dback dad is putting all the blame on McDs and none on the parents for teaching good choices?) then I agree with you in principle. However, Parents have very little control over what their kids see every day. Once they're school age, the media and peer pressure have much more control over what they hear than the parents ever do. That said, I think that parents who simply sit back and do not realize the dangers of letting their kids get sucked into the media machine aren't doing their jobs.

dbackdad said...

I have no idea what Scott said. I swear that he speaks English but sometimes it looks like a different language.

As to the assertion that I am blaming McDonald's for choices kids make ... that's not it at all. I'm saying that companies, especially multinational coporations, that are as ubiquitous as McDonald's have more than just a responsibility to make a buck. They have a civic responsibility to present positive choices for kids. Promoting toys like Hummers is like selling Playboys in a kids store. Should parents be educating their kids so that they make the right choices? Yes. Should companies (especially those with such an attraction to kids) help by not presenting choices that send the wrong message? Yes.

Sadie Lou said...

I just went to McDonalds after church today and my daughter got a Happy Meal. She opened up the bag and pulled out the car (Hummer). She then handed it to her baby brother and said," Lame!"

That's it in a nutshell, isn't it?

Laura said...

Dback: Oh, I agree with you on that. Corporations bear great responsibility to ensure they act ethically and in a socially responsible way. But that takes money and oversight. And who in their right mind believes that the government has any right to oversee the free market - PUH, I mean PUH-leese? ;)

Sadie: That's too funny. I liked toy cars when I was a kid, so I probably would have liked that toy - of course, not understanding the implications of such a ploy when I was that age. Nowadays, I must agree with your daughter...

Scott said...

Hummer = Playboy? uh? hmmmm

Should companies (especially those with such an attraction to kids) help by not presenting choices that send the wrong message?

You're really stretching. Toy cars are the "wrong message" because they have a low EPA rating? You're exactly the same as the baptist preacher in Kansas who says evolution shouldn't be taught in schools because it gives the "wrong message." Same coin, different side.

dbackdad said...

You're really stretching. -- Probably. :-)

I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm saying that a Hummer toy is the start of the fall of civilization. If that's the way I'm coming across, that is not my intent. It's just that sometimes these little disparate events point to a bigger trend.

I'm not suggesting legislating corporate responsibility (in this case). I'm just trying to make a statement on where the corporate mindset is these days. Companies shouldn't have positive message toys because they are required to but rather because it is the right thing to do. I'd gripe just as much if they had G.I. Joe toys.

Secondly, with all the ad agencies, focus groups, market studies, etc. out there, you can't tell me that McDonald's doesn't know exactly what they are doing.

Scott said...

Fair enough.

I should confess that, as you might have guessed, I cringe when I see capitalism blamed for this type of thing. Corporatism is the exact type of thing that Adam Smith and free market scholars since him have warned us against.

RC said...

definitly somewhat disheartening.

but hummer also did a big display at a zoo near was near their conservation exhibit.

--RC of

Laura said...

Personally, I think the last face we'll see before the downfall of modern civilization won't be Ronald McDonald's but Mickey Mouse. I'll say one thing for McD's, at least this time they've scrapped the "Gender appropriate" toys in the happy meals ;)