The CEO of McDonald’s recently defended the company’s mascot, Ronald McDonald. He said Ronald is not a bad guy. He is about fun. He is a clown.
This is indicative of the utter gutlessness of corporate America. The CEO is new. I guess he is sensitive. That’s the kind of CEO companies don’t need.
Some tiny liberal group called Corporate Accountability International, which pulls in under $4 million a year, in 2011 launched an attack on McDonald’s, calling on it to stop advertising with Ronald, get rid of happy meals, and stop making children fat. The shareholders rejected that suggestion by 95%.
Here we are two years later, and the little outfit is running another anti-McDonald’s campaign. Why? In-house mailing list fund-raising.
So, the CEO is still publicly defending Ronald. On May 23, the tiny outfit ran three media stories on how bad McDonald’s is. So what? Here is one of the largest companies on earth, whose new CEO is in bed-wetting mode, giving publicity to some powerless little anti-business advocacy group, two years after McDonald’s shareholders voted to ignore the outfit’s complaints.
The outfit spent a big chunk of its small budget on full-page ads run in six obscure newspapers in 2011. This is the least cost-effective advertising possible, unless your goal is to impress its donors. A spokesman told Ad Age that if 3% to 5% of McDonald’s shareholders voted with the outfit, that would be a victory.
Note to CEOs everywhere: if you are being challenged by a Leftie outfit that thinks that a 97% loss is a victory, you can sleep soundly at night. The outfit is using your company as a fund-raider for naive donors.
My grandson likes McDonald’s. He likes the 25 cent Chinese-made toy figures in the happy meals. He eats a cheeseburger once a week. He skips the French Fries. He gives me the apple slices. He has no idea who Ronald McDonald is.
Ronald has been invisible for years. Maybe he appears on Saturday morning cartoon shows. I don’t know. I have not seen him on a TV ad in years — more than 20 years, I imagine.
Some impotent little Leftie outfit still hammers on a theme to bury Ronald, when Ronald has been invisible for decades.
And what about the playrooms? Should McDonald’s close those? They are popular. Most fast food chains have added them. Kids love them. The Lefties know better than to attack the playrooms. Even Lefties are not that stupid.
Yet here is the CEO, defending a mascot who the company sent into retirement decades ago, as if the public cared.
Here are rules for CEOs:
1. Ignore little-bitty Leftie anti-business outfits. Don’t give them free publicity by acknowledging their existence.
2. If your existing customers like what you are selling, don’t apologize. Advertize more.
3. If your advertising campaign works, and you can prove it statistically, keep it. If not, don’t.
McDonald’s CEO remains in defense mode two years after shareholders voted to ignore an underfunded, one-day ad campaign run in a half a dozen tiny newspapers.
Warren Buffett has an egg McMuffin for breakfast and a quarter pounder and fries for lunch. The CEO of McDonald’s can safely forget about Corporate Accountability International.