Thursday, April 20, 2006

Just the McJob

Trying to take ownership of the McJob label in its new ad campaign is a brave strategy for McDonald's, but possibly not the smartest.

The campaign tries to put a positive spin on the word that has for long been used to describe anyone working in McDonald's or any other low-paid and low-prospects environment.

The three ads (not done by Leo Burnett, but created in-house) variously try to get over the message that working at McDonald's is really not all bad. One ad focuses on the promise of two pay rises in the first year and another on the idea that opportunity beckons with several board members having started corporate life serving Happy Meals.

The strange thing is that McDonald's owns the trademark for McJobs dating back to 1984, which pre-dates Douglas Coupland's Generation X by seven years.

Apparently, the original idea was to use it for "training handicapped persons as restaurant employees". The trademark expired, but then along came Coupland and his novel (which incidentally never the word in reference to McDonald's), which prompted the fast food giant to restore the trademark in 1992.

I don't rate its chances and think all the ads are going to do reinforcing the idea that McDonald's is synonymous with McJobs or as Coupland put it: "low-pay, low-prestige, low-dignity, low benefit, no-future job in the service sector. Frequently considered a satisfying career choice by people who have never held one".

Besides, the ads make it sound like working in the McDonald's board room is a good thing. Have you seen what happens to their executives? It's not a healthy career choice.


At 2:27 PM, Blogger Dan said...

I'm not surprised to hear that McDonald's trademarked the term "McJob" ages ago, after all they seem to have trademarked just about every other phrase in the English language, including such gems as "I am Asian", "Hey, It Could Happen" and "You Deserve a Break Today". Oh, and of course "Good Jobs For Good People". And "twoallbeefpattiesspecialsaucelettucecheesepicklesoniononasesameseedbun". And "Super Size" (we'll get you yet, Morgan Spurlock!)


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