The juxtaposition of this historically family brand with such sexually graphic content is shocking, to say the least, but unfortunately, it is consistent with a long-term trend that the Parents Television Council has observed with great concern for the last few years.
For generations, McDonald’s was the number-one fast-food destination for families – especially those with young children. McDonald’s menu and restaurants were kid-friendly, but more than that McDonalds seemed to go out of its way to maintain a wholesome, family-friendly image.
But things have turned for the worst at McDonald’s:
In 2007, the Parents Television Council ranked McDonald’s as one of the ten best television sponsors because of its avoidance of graphically violent, profane, or sexually explicit programming. But for the past three years, McDonald’s has ranked among the worst TV sponsors.
So what can a family do?
Unless and until McDonald’s returns to being a responsible advertiser, I advise consumers to take their business to competitors whose values more closely reflect their own. Wendy’s, for example, has consistently matched its positive brand image with responsible media-buying standards. And they are quickly catching up with McDonald’s in terms of sales, while returning higher value to shareholders.
To be more respected, McDonald’s needs to re-establish the trust of customers – and a key strategy in re-establishing that trust must be remembering the families that have been the cornerstone of the McDonald’s brand.
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