For cynical marketers a sustainability benefit is easy to find, and all kinds of organisations try to crowbar their product into what I call Green territory. However reluctantly an environment-threatening ingredient is removed, for example, you can soon be claiming your product is ‘now even greener’.
While this very morning I heard a radio execution promoting Free Fruit Friday. For even McDonald’s, engaged in what would appear to be the Sisyphean task of portraying its food as healthy, now seems to be positioning itself as a purveyor of health food. It has a requirement for ‘safe, sustainable supply sources for its burger meat’ for example.
On its websites you will find calorie counters, information about allergens, and laudable declarations about sustainability. See here from the UK site.
Striving for a sustainable future
At McDonald’s we recognise our responsibility to protect and preserve the environment for future generations to come. Our goal is simple, all of our activities are centred around the key priorities of reduce, reuse, recycle and redesign with the aim to use less energy.
While I admire the sheer energy of all this. Is this a sensible response to falling global sales? I wonder. The fact is that however much McDonald’s professes its green and health-promoting qualities, people simply don’t believe it. Their burgers are evidently loved by millions, but surely not for their health promoting attributes. They are a tasty, guilty pleasure.
McDonald’s is a prime example of a corporation’s marketing losing the plot by occupying a territory that simply doesn’t belong to them or ring true. While I’m not suggesting it should not continue to pull up its socks on sustainability and health, leading with this as the main marketing motif is a costly error.