It’s a pretty simple rule in the world of advertising: When your spokesman is convicted of a brutal crime - say, managing a dog fighting ring - you go ahead and pull your ads with him in them. The goal of such a move is to, you know, not associate your product with nefarious criminal activities. Well, it looks like the folks over at McDonald’s must have missed that class.
(Someone didn’t get the memo)
TMZ is reporting that one of their “news gatherers” happened upon the above Michael Vick-featured promotion yesterday while ordering a Happy Meal. And while the promotion is from 2004 - it’s not like they started a whole new campaign after Vick was convicted - it is a bit off-putting. It’s kind of like walking into a Hertz and still seeing an old cutout of O.J. Simpson giving the thumbs up; you’d probably want to take your business elsewhere.
TMZ has the specifics:
A TMZ employee went into a McD’s in Hollywood yesterday and ordered a Happy Meal (don’t ask). The box she received (pictured above) advertises six different electronic sports games, each of them named after a famous athlete. But Michael Vick is the only one of those athletes who is currently in federal prison.
The advertising was part of a cross-promotion with ESPN from 2004 — back when Vick was just an overrated football player, instead of a dog murderer. Considering the Happy Meal is specifically targeted to young kids, you’d think Mickey D’s would be more diligent about removing the name of a convicted dogfighter off the packaging.
And the fact that it’s a Happy Meal makes matters even worse. One thing you don’t need is your kid asking tough-to-answer questions like “Who’s Michael Vick?”, “What’s federal prison?”, “Why doesn’t he want to drop the soap?”, etc.
It doesn’t help that McDonald’s burgers kind of taste like dog in the first place.