advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The gay ad McDonald's doesn’t want you to see!

Okay, a title that exploits, sure, but I need a grabber to compete with grilling dead animals and beer this weekend. BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU PEOPLE ARE DOING.

So anyway, DADT is on its way to being repealed, Arizona’s new immigration law is under fire and Carson along with cable continue to pave the way for the LGBT community. Everything is going so well, that McDonald’s would have no problem running this poignant ad from France here, right?


As the kids say, NO FREAKING WAY this runs here. Too bad, because it covers a lot of ground, not just for the brand either, but societally speaking as well. Why?

Because the fabric of mainstream advertising that catered to, well, the mainstream, had always been the American nuclear family. A demo later destroyed by the DINKY mindset, which in turn underwent further change when Gen Y took over, to end up now as who knows what.

But implicit in any of those shifts was always the idea that brands are selling to a heterosexual mindset based in large part on the idea of the American Dream™, where marriage is/was between man and woman, with 2.5 kids and dog 1.0.

*Certain* demos may have always used a brand, but good luck ever seeing them represented in a mainstream spot. The message by omission though is/was clear:

We want your money—we just don’t want you.

You can probably count the number of spots that are *out* on one finger. (Progressive recently.) Otherwise, gays on American TV? Fine, as long as they reinforce the stereotypes:

Worry more about their appearance than women and match drapes like they were born holding a fabric selector instead of a pacifier, then we’re good to go.

This topic can easily broaden to include other groups brands would rather not think about too. When’s the last time you saw someone in a wheelchair in a Wendy’s spot? I mean beyond sponsorship of events like the Paralympic Games or charity tie-ins.

I mean everyday advertising.

Brands have no problem making money off any demo; they’re just very selective of who they feature in ads to help them accomplish that feat.

The fast casual or fast food industry or whatever you call it these days is no exception. The pseudo David Lynchian freak of The King in bed next to you is preferable to showing two guys holding hands walking in and ordering two number 8 combos. Why? Because kinky is fine, as long they’re straight.

Rightfully or wrongfully, the majority of chains still believe that this is an industry based on the *normal* family, because if current TV ads are any indication, this is what families apparently still do:

Gather round the table at 6:00 pm every night and smile while eating delicious Kentucky Fried Chicken.

What ads in this category don’t do however is address larger social issues the way this French spot does. And credit even more here to the spot for not trying to solve anything either. Look how proud dad is of his handsome son, a playa off the old block, just like him.

Well dad, your kid has a secret that you’re making it real hard for him to share.

Is McDonald’s the place to make that happen? (Only small nit I have is that most of my heart to hearts with the parental units never took place in public.) Is this where the scenario is headed in a subsequent spot? Who knows, but the anticipation of that conversation is interesting.

Also interesting is the “come as you” are part. Where “I’m lovin’ it” speaks to your love of the brand’s product, “Come as you are” shows how open the brand is to fitting around your life.

Joe and Frank are cute, but this is a spot that McDonald’s should run here. They’ve gained back a lot of lost ground this past decade including a serious run at owning coffee and are killing it in terms of profitability. Show it here in the U.S.?

I’d be lovin’ that.



Jetpacks said...

Consistently, from day to day, you prove why you are the best ad blogger out there. Wonder why they haven't asked you fill Garfield's spot yet.

Mr Brown Thumb said...

Wonderful analysis. You make me regret not trying to work in the field after I went to the trouble of majoring in marketing in college.