Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dumbing down... coffee?

I'm somewhat disturbed by this new advertising campaign McDonald's has launched trying to promote their new Lattes and otherwise fancy coffee drinks. Until today I had only ever seen the television ads where there are two attractive people sitting in a cute European looking cafe enjoying coffee, listening to music, and reading books.
Then, when one of them asks the other, "Have you heard that McDonald's is now serving Lattes?" they both get positively gleeful.
They toss their books aside and start excitedly going on about reality television and gossip magazines. They start confessing to not really liking classical music, or understanding languages, or reading poetry. You can actually see the IQ points fall away with every confession. They seem elated by the idea that they no longer have to make an effort to think for themselves and that they can finally put aside intellectual pursuits to join the ranks of TMZ watchers and OK Magazine readers!

This morning I heard the radio spot. I've only heard it once, so this isn't verbatim, but the gist is, there was a very happy woman's voice talking about how she could finally forget about her Russian Lit degree and now be free to take on the exciting task of catching up on gossip magazines and reality television! (What is it with reality television?)

So basically, what these ads are trying to say is, "McDonald's is now selling McStupid juice and they are so proud of it!"


FreNeTic said...

I initially liked the commercial (I might have a different one from this campaign that I'm thinking about: the one with two guys, one who admits that he doesn't need the glasses he's wearing). It seemed more about dropping affect and pretense...which comes in handy if you're going to step into McD's, right?

However: I became a little indignant at this notion that the normal cafe-goer has to be profiled as someone who is being something they are not. Then I just threw my arms in the air and couldn't figure out what demographic they were targeting.

Unknown said...

"Did you hear that on TMZ or Perez?"


Melodie said...

You're so funny Michelle! I haven't seen the ads but they sound pretty degrading to me! Makes you wonder who the advertising whizzez are that come up with that stuff and why they don't ask real people what would entice them to buy!!
As for reality life is all the reality I can handle! I can't believe the things they put on the air in the name of 'entertainment'! Love ya hon!

Amie said...

I would like to point out that I have an English Lit degree, AND watch reality shows, and I would still NEVER EVER EVER buy a latte from friggin' McDonald's. :)

Michelle Auer said...

Mel- I think the ads are only in the PNW. They are trying to target Starbuck's "heart" first before going global.
And Amie, I agree, I would never buy coffee from McDonalds unless I was trapped in middle America with no other choice. (Like when I was in the Minnesota airport and all they ahd to offer were powdered lattes. EW!

Kratzy said...

Sorry to tell you Michelle... The McCafe has been happening here in Australia for a few years now - pretty much every store has a McCafe attached. It is generally marketed to the "Mums" who don't want to eat the Maccas crap, but will happily let their kids eat there - a little hypocritical but hey.

It is relatviely successful as we don't have the Starbucks on every corner that Seattle and Vancouver seemed to have. The coffee culture is still in its infancy here in Brisbane - we only got our first "chain" coffee shop in around 2002. A majority of people only moved from instant coffee as their regular coffee choice in the past 5 years or so. Before then "espresso coffee" was a treat as opposed to a daily item.

Take it from someone who has travelled extensviely in country Queensland for work... It does serve a purpose as you can be in the tiniest town and know you can get a reasonable coffee.

Love Steph.

Michelle Auer said...

I tend to agree with you on the consistent cup of joe in a small town. But the point I was making is the fact that their marketers have used the angle that people don't actually enjoy cafe's and that they prefer to watch reality TV and read gossip magazines to education. I wish I could find one on youtube, because they really are silly in the bad way. If they were advertising the cositancy thing over what they are doing now, I would think it was a better idea all together.

Kratzy said...

Very true - appears they have a very different marketing campaign over here. The TV adds over here are basically along the lines of "sit and relax, have a coffee, while your kids are getting hopped up on sugar and fat" or "tune out while your children are running around like little monsters".

The other angle they take here is "drop in, grab a quick cup and go - no fuss". Which is rather amusing given that at every McCafe I have been to it takes the looooongest time in the world for the person behind the counter to actually make it.

They don't try to compete with the coffee chains over here - interesting that the same "product" is marketed so differently in the two countries.

Had a quick peak and apparently they were first introduced in Australia in 1993 - not here in Brisbane let me assure you! It must have been in Sydney or Melbourne - they have had a coffee culture for years.

I can't understand the "powdered latte" idea??? Gross!

Snotty McSnotterson said...

The point to me is, it's obviously working on some people in America, and this is sometimes called Social Darwinism.

It sounds like McCafe's are the 7-11's of Australia (ie; small town, reasonable cup of joe for pennies on the dollar).

BLP said...

How sad...I wonder what McGenius thought up that ad campaign?


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