httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRrr-wO8w2I There’s some good-natured—or is it? —lampooning of rural America in the Facebook-based game and advertising that McDonald’s/France launched today in support of its McFarmer double-patty cheeseburger.
Go to the McDonald’s dedicated Facebook page for the “La ruée vers le McFarmer” (roughly “The rush to McFarmer”) game and you’ll meet “Roy,” who looks like a caricature out of “L’il Abner” (plus an earring). He’s described as “an American born and bred, 100% great western.” The online game, created by digital agency DUKE/Razorfish, involves a race across states to get the last McFarmer burger. The game runs until Feb. 1.
TV advertising for McFarmer from TBWA/Paris casts rural Americans in an equally unflattering light. One spot involves a grain harvester beating two dragsters in a race to the amazement of the flannel-shirted rubes in the stands (who. collectively, look like Willie Nelson’s extended family). The depiction isn’t insulting, but neither is it particularly loving.
Interestingly, marketing materials for McFarmer, including the TV commercial, carry the message “For your health, eat at least five fruits and vegetables daily” and direct attention to a healthy-eating website.
The McFarmer campaign’s parodying of Americans is in counterpoint to what has been a continual series of celebratory, American-theme menu items at McDonald’s around the world. From the Big America burgers now on McDonald’s menu in Japan and “Great Tastes of America” burgers in the UK to the “I ♥ New York” burgers in the Czech Republic and the California Grill burger in Spain, the chain has made clear it knows where its home and heart is. So if we Americans look a little dopey in this French campaign, we can smile and let it slide.
Side note: McDonald’s had the McFarmer burger on the menu several years ago in select European markets. It was so popular with some folks that there’s a “McDonald’s, please bring back the fabulous McFarmer!!!” page on Facebook. Creator Marc P. Stuedi must be a happy man today.