I have been sitting on this post for at least a month if not longer now. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t want to dive into the whole McDonald’s is awful for you so boycott the chain type of post. I wanted to look at it from the proper perspective and to do that you have to stand back and analyze the situation in front of you. Essentially remove yourself from the scenario you are going to comment on and make sure that you present both sides of the story.
I cringed when I saw it. It looks like what should be an electric grid but instead it is a picture of where every McDonald’s in America is. Let’s be fair and say for the record that it is not just McDonald’s, but Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, etc that I believe also have a an impact on the waistline of Americans.
So back to the title of this post: McDonald’s TV. As the title says, McDonald’s is launching its own television network. My first reaction to this was to shake my head and say: What will they come up with next. It then turned to rage because I could see commercials or shows of Ronald and the Hamburgler solving math problems and parents putting their kids in front of the TV so they could ‘learn.’ Meanwhile there would be commercial after commercial of McDonald’s french fries or apple pie to lure the kids in.
So after some digging around I learned that the network will only be shown in their restaurants. So my immediate reaction was at least it’s contained, then Kevin’s picture showed up and there are McDonald’s everywhere so not really contained. My next thought was that they are going to broadcast shows and get people to just sit in the restaurant all day long. People will be ordering Biggie Fries (is that the largest?) and just eating while watching TV. They might show up their early in the morning and have the oatmeal and fruit (or is it granola? I have no clue because I can’t recall the last time I was in one) and coffee and work? Then lunch comes and its easy to grab food, then all of a sudden it is 5pm and time to get little Bobby and Suzy from school for dinner. Well they would be near food so just order, pick up kids, toss the sacks to them and they eat in the car while watching the TV on the head rest.
So much was wrong with this picture that I just got angry, and it wasn’t all directed at McDonald’s. This is where I separated myself from the scenario. McDonald’s is running a business. The point of a business is to make a profit. To make a profit you have to be more innovative than your competition so that people will purchase from you. So in this regards, McDonald’s putting its own TV network in its establishments is genius. Think about this for a moment.
- Establish the network so people sit in your store all day long and mindlessly consume your products (profit!)
- Establish relationships with producers, directors, networks so they pay YOU to broadcast to your customers (profit!)
- Establish relationships with companies so they pay YOU to broadcast their commercials on your network (profit!)
- You reinforce your brand/image and product/service to your customers all day long (profit!)
As a marketer and quasi-entrepreneur I love this idea. Capture your market and keep them wanting more. Genius.
As a person concerned for the welfare of our country and its children I am dumb-founded and angry.
I went to Google and searched and found some very good articles HERE and HERE but this article HERE points out my reasons as to why this is such a bad idea for our country. Here is an excerpt from the article written by Marlene Schwartz, Ph.D. that sums up my thoughts a lot better than I could have:
To summarize, there are three huge problems with this initiative by McDonalds. First, the encroachment of television into public dining spaces disrupts the positive benefits of eating together as a family. Television is not meant for consumption during family meals — whether in the home or not.
Second, in-house networks like the McDonald’s restaurant chain will not have any restrictions on food advertisements to children. This means that all the work that McDonald’s has done to limit children’s exposure to advertisements for its less-healthy foods may be undone inside the restaurant.
Third, McDonald’s is an industry leader, and this will likely start a trend in other places. If other restaurants start introducing television stations inside their dining rooms, it will become harder and harder for parents to say no to television while dining.
We urge all parents to take control of the table. This might be the table at home or the table while dining out. Say “no” to television and “yes” to your family. It will be time well spent.
In our house when we have dinner together the TV goes off. I sit with Chico and ask him how his day went, what did he learn. I then tell him what we are doing next and prepare him so that when Karen gets home they have an opportunity to relax and talk without having to do anything else.
Our family does what works best for us and I know not everybody can live like this. We are fortunate, but I do know that everybody can avoid having the TV act as a babysitter and certainly avoid the McDonald’s Network being that baby-sitter.