McDonald's, the burger behemoth, pushes its product with an advertising slogan that exuberantly proclaims, "I'm Lovin' It."
But the slogan doesn't seem to be selling more burgers — in fact, customers have been buying a lot fewer McEdibles, causing a serious sag in sales. The slump is not about slogans, though — it's about the fact that customers are not "Lovin" those news reports that some of its suppliers have been repackaging expired meat. Nor do they love McDonald's corporate-wide policy of paying poverty wages, its ruthless anti-union tactics, and its cynical strategy of having taxpayers subsidize its labor costs by directing employees to go on food stamps and Medicaid.
Not to worry, though, for new CEO Don Thompson is all over these boo-boos. Not that he's offering real improvements in quality, wages, and corporate attitude — no, no, get serious! This is McDonald's, and its investors and bankers don't fritter away money on real solutions.
Instead, Don is doubling down on that loving feeling.
McD launched a new ad campaign this year to link the corporate brand to the feel-good power of love. The ads show Batman and the Joker breaking bread together, a mailman and a dog finding peace under the Golden Arches, and a blue donkey and a red elephant sharing common ground at a McDonald's Formica table. Each ad closes with the lovely thought that you, I and everyone everywhere should "Choose Lovin'."
Get it? Choose McDonald's, for it's the source of love, and you'll truly be "Lovin' It." Not for nothing is CEO Thompson paid $9.5 million a year, plus full health coverage, a platinum pension, and private use of the corporate jet.
Where else but America can you be so enriched for preaching Lovin', while directing your corporate lobbyists to kill any increase in the poverty wages of your employees?
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.