What's the real message here?

Sunday, December 03, 2017

What's the real message here?

Every so often I spot a TV commercial that causes me to scratch my head, hit re-wind and re-watch the spot more carefully while wondering what's really going on with this one.

This is one such...

It's been running regularly for over a year now.

Young, fresh-faced, neatly-dressed black man, nervously enters a McDonald's, catches the attention of a slighly older managerial type, then hands him an envelope to open and announce the contents to a gathering of co-workers.

The news is good: the young man's application has been accepted, allowing him entrance to a college... hearty ap­probation ensues all around.

McDonald's Corporation is a huge multi-national "fast food" restaurant chain that's been around longer than I have... it's actually five months my senior... and didn't get to its position of global dominance by making silly mistakes.

So someone in an advertising agency somewhere thought this up and got approval from a decision-maker in McDonald's College Tuition Assistance Program to run these 30-second spots which tell inner city illiterates that their pathway to a higher eduction starts with a minimum wage job beneath the Golden Arches?

Okay, if that's the actual subtext intended, but if that's the subliminal message and the young man is that much behind the education curve, who filled out his application for him?


1. Dave Reilly said...

It's probably much more simple than that. In effect, McDonald's is touting itself as a good corporate citizen by offering this to their employees. Based thereon, we are supposed to feel warm and fuzzy and be sufficiently motivated to buy Big Macs. A non-sequitur? Surely. But who says advertising has to make sense and be linear?

No one, but I argue that the message is a mixed one even if your interpretation is close to what they intended.

2. James Hartline said...

As the commercial didn't reveal what the college-bound McDonald's burger-flipper was going to be majoring in once he arrived at the unnamed college, it is fairly safe to assume that once he has completed his four years of studies in Liberal Arts, Political Science or Community Organizing he will once again be back under the Golden Arches flipping burgers.

There's always that.

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