Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What can I get for a dollar? A proposed experiment.

In order to provide the appropriate context for this little rant, here is a recent 30 second ad that's been running for McDonald's Dollar Menu:

Does anyone see something wrong with this ad? What do you think would happen if you went into a McDonald's and gave them a dollar bill for something on their Dollar Menu? If you said "They'd give you the sandwich as advertised in the commercial", you'd be wrong. Unless of course you live in Oregon, land of no sales tax. Everywhere else you wouldn't get squat until you coughed up seven pennies to go along with your dollar bill. Now, I'm not really a McDonald's patron (doesn't fit so well with the "trying to lose weight" thing), but I'd love to see what would happen if someone went into one of the stores with a dollar bill and an iPhone with this commercial cued up in case someone asks (which they will). Would the manager honor the advertisement? There's certainly no disclaimer given, outside of "prices and participation may vary", which is given on every promotion, and unless your particular McDonald's doesn't have a Dollar Menu then they are certainly participating, and by definition the price cannot vary. Would be a fun experiment to be sure.

As an additional nitpick, what the hell is up with "now, more than ever" being appended to everything? Yes, we're in a recession and money is tight. Now, more than ever though? This is the worst economic turn we've ever been in? Not to mention we hear that phrase all the time anyway, recession or not. It's one of these phrases that we've almost been conditioned to react to - we have a Pavlovian compulsion to buy or watch or do whatever it is that's so much...something...now, more than ever before. The "something" isn't actually given, and really I'm even just assuming the "before" as well. Could be now, more than ever again. Well gosh, that's even more dire, isn't it? Ambiguity leads to the implication that this thing, whatever it is, is more...something...now, more than ever before or ever again. That's pretty intense.

Though it is a bit more appealing than the more honest "McDonald's Dollar Menu: Now killing Americans for less money, if adjusted for inflation, than ever before, though likely not as cheaply as we'll be doing it next year."

I'm not going to quit my job and pursue a career in advertising slogans, in case anyone was concerned.

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