Last week McDonald’s Canada posted a video on YouTube entitled, “Behind the scenes at a McDonald’s photo shoot,” which purports to answer a question from a customer on why McDonald’s food looks different in ads than it does in reality. So to answer this question, Hope Bagazzi, director of marketing for McDonald’s Canada takes us on a tour of how the food stylists with the company’s advertising firm prepare a cheeseburger and how that differs from what it really looks like. The idea, so it appears, is to be transparent and honest about how McDonald’s portrays its food in advertisements.
The video has gone viral, inching toward six million views. I even tweeted it myself. But one of my followers who lives in Vancouver, Anne Rosenberg was not fooled. She sent me the following email:
I’ve been very upset about this YouTube McDonald’s commercial. Almost six million people think it is just a casual unedited honest portrayal, when in fact every detail is painfully thought out. Every shot – even the microphone we “shouldn’t see” in the car, is staged. That helps to make it look low budget. It is actually one of the most powerful ads I have ever seen.
I wasn’t surprised that even Grist and NPR bought into this. It was distributed in a way that helped it to go viral extremely quickly. That was also well choreographed. They have such skill and so much money behind them and they can manipulate even those who are aware. Thinking of over six million people who have that image under those bright lights, imprinted on their brains, makes me sick.
It’s sneaky advertising and they didn’t even have to pay to have it on YouTube. But millions of people do have to pay when they experience poor health as a result of consuming that junk food. How many of the people who watched closely as they focused the camera on that hamburger had the urge to go out and buy one? The team who worked on that ad must be celebrating their huge success. We all overlooked the way they took advantage of us. Yet again.
Thanks, Anne, so well said. Let’s all learn a lesson here.