Veronika’s Culture Jam

Original Advertisement: McDonald’s Ad

Deconstruction of the Advertisement

The Golden Arches are instantly recognizable in almost any country you got to, predominantly due to the brand’s marketing. As defined by the Business Dictionary, advertising’s “objective is to change the thinking pattern (or buying behavior) of the recipient, so that he or she is persuaded to take the action desired by the advertiser.” Taking this into account, there is a problem with advertising McDonalds, as well as other fast food chains and restaurants. In this advertisement, McDonald’s displayed a multitude of different burgers, each one different signifying the different members of the family (e.g. the biggest one (Big Mac) for the dad). Underneath, it states “family meating.” And right under that, it says “Make it a McFamily Event at McDonald’s.” When viewing this ad, it gives the viewer the impression that this kind of dinner is a good idea, and an appropriate meal for parents to give to their children. The fundamental problem with promoting McDonald’s this way, especially their burgers, is the negative impact such advertising has on both the young and old generation. With McDonald’s being over 6 decades old, and with an increase in advertising of their products almost every year, the generation of parents today have essentially grown up with McDonald’s. Consequently, both parents and children can identify with this ad. Western countries are struggling with an obesity epidemic. The promotion and insertion of unhealthy life choices into the family dynamic-–making it part of the bigger picture–not just that it is a burger that you should eat now. It is multidimensional; inserted into a family, made into an activity that everyone should partake in together, giving it the legitimacy of a good meal and something the mom and dad would approve of. Ironically, there is a positive message being conveyed in this ad as it highlights the importance of family time, an important topic of conversation today. However, this family time or family meeting is with McDonald’s. Making it part of family events is dangerous because it displays the normality of consuming the product. It further teaches children to put burgers before healthy choices. Another part of the problem is that parents usually don’t take kids to McDonald’s themselves, it’s the kids that ask to go there. The more advertising that a child sees normalizing fast food, promoting it, the more it will be convinced that it is okay by adding a layer or normalcy, which is the exact danger for people in a country where obesity can be considered an epidemic.

Jammed Version of the Advertisement

Reconstruction of the Advertisement

In my jammed version of the advertisement, I edited it in a way to highlight the absurdity by displaying the repercussions of making such choices. In the image pictured below the original advertisement, it displays a family in a hospital. This is supposed to symbolize the effects of fast food consumption, which is why the question mark, arrow, and the new kind of “family meeting” were added, which extends the pun. Therefore, the family meetings which the McDonald’s ad was promoting would now take place in the hospital, as fast food is the leading contributor to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, etc., just to name a few. Not only are these problems preventable a lot of the times, it also puts more strain on national healthcare systems. The intent was to highlight the dangers of eating in places like McDonald’s. The alteration aspired to invoke a feeling of concern regard to the repercussions of leading a lifestyle rooted in this marketing campaign; it is supposed to act as a warning to people, both young and old. Eating fast food has become routine for many families, and as a result, a significant factor fuelling obesity. The issue at stake here is the fact that it is promoting to chose McDonald’s burgers over alternative choices of food for a family gathering. Kids pick up their habits from their parents when they are little. By playing into this marketing tactic, this hinders the proactive approach by various institutions today which are trying to educate the kids to make healthy choices for themselves. The promotion of the unhealthy choices goes against the needs children require on a daily basis to be healthy, like obtaining a balanced meal. By trying to combat corporate consumerism, like fast food restaurants like McDonald’s which serves millions of people daily, we can try to prevent and/or mitigate the prevailing problems in society.