As America’s leading fast-food chain, McDonalds is accustomed to handsome profits; but the restaurant’s sales and share price on Wall Street are both slumping — and McD’s sponsorship of anti-family programming may be part of the reason.
According to the Wall Street Journal, McDonald’s share price dropped almost 3% last week after the fast-food chain delivered a disappointing earnings report. Sales were also down. While the company blamed the economy, events in Asia, and even the weather (last year was unseasonably hot, thus increasing sales and inflating expectations, the company says), one other factor may have contributed: the TV programming McDonalds sponsors.
According to marketing research by Walmart (a company that knows a thing or two about sales), more people buy from companies that sponsor entertainment they feel is safe for their kids. Walmart’s Chief Marketing Officer, Stephen Quinn, told the PTC in a letter that their research shows an 18% higher return from advertising when advertising dollars are spent on family friendly entertainment.
And the converse is also true: companies that sponsor or advertise in shows featuring extreme, graphic content do poorly. Studies at both University of Michigan and Ohio State University have shown that people watching advertising on shows full of violence or sex are 30% less likely to remember the name of the sponsor than people watching lighter fare.
Given these facts, it is no wonder McDonalds is doing poorly. PTC analysis shows that since January of 2013 alone, the chain has advertised on nearly every episode of Fox’s disgusting cartoon series Family Guy and American Dad, as well as 13 out of 17 episodes of The Cleveland Show. McDonalds also sponsored last Sunday’s “sneak peek” of Fox’s new ADHD programming block.
McDonalds hypocrisy is breathtaking. With one hand, the chain claims to be a “family-friendly” company, one which sells children “Happy Meals,” complete with toys. With the other, the company happily makes possible programs which show the same children “kinky” sex orgies, strip clubs, people’s heads being shot off, vomiting, and “jokes” about child molestation — not to mention a character eating out of a baby’s diaper, the baby throwing up, and the character eating the vomit.
Most parents wouldn’t wouldn’t be eager to take their children to eat at a restaurant that associates its brand name with a character who eats excrement out of a diaper. But apparently, McDonalds thinks such messages are ideal for its brand image — and for attracting families.